Deaths reported as UN enters Haiti slum
December 14, 2004
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Deaths reported as UN enters Haiti slum

December 14, 2004

Haiti Information Project (HIP)

Port au Prince, Haiti(HIP)- Sustained and heavy gunfire erupted in the pro-Aristide slum of Cite Soleil at about 3 a.m. this morning and was followed by an incursion into the area by hundreds of Brazilian and Jordanian troops of the United Nations.

Cite Soleil has been among the launching sites for recent protests demanding the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and is where he announced his first campaign for public office in 1990. Aristide was ousted last February 29th amid charges he was kidnapped by U.S. Marines and remains a guest of the Republic of South Africa where he resides. One foreign witness stated, "I have never heard this level of gunfire since I have been here. It was heavy gunfire that lasted about three hours." Residents accused a gang they referred to as Baz Labanye of having committed a massacre early this morning against supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas party to justify the armed incursion of United Nation's forces. One angry man exclaimed, "Baz Labanye, controlled by Andre Apaid and Reginald Boulos [of the former opposition], began a heavy attack against us and many people were killed. The United Nations then used this as a pretext to invade our neighborhood and end our calls for Aristide's return. It is clear they are working together to exterminate us."

Brazilian and Jordanian troops entered the area with armored personnel carriers later in the morning and began shooting into the air to disperse a spontaneous demonstration that erupted against their presence. Witnesses reported that several more Lavalas supporters were killed after UN troops exchanged gunfire with unidentified gunmen who shot towards them.

Violence in Haiti's capital has increased since September 30th after police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators demanding Aristide's return. Most of the poor slums, where the majority of the capital's population live, remain under a virtual state of siege by the Police Nationale de Haiti (PNH) assisted by troops of the UN peacekeeping force.

===== The Haiti Information Project (HIP) is a non-profit alternative news service providing coverage and analysis of breaking developments in Haiti.


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