Brazilian Troops Suffer Several Gang Attacks in Haiti

Brazilian troops will continue to carry out routine activities and fortify their positions in Cité Soleil, one of the most violent slums in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

This information comes from Lieutenant-Commander Alberto Barbosa Nascimento, communications officer of the Brazilian peace force that is part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in that country, the MINUSTAH.

According to Nascimento, the heightened activity of gangs in that country is related to the process of reinforcing the government and the police organs that put pressure on these groups.

"The same procedures that have been followed since the operation began will be maintained, because we have a memorandum of understanding with the UN in which all these actions are spelled out. So what the other contingents have done will be continued," he said.

According to the MINUSTAH activities bulletin, Brazilian soldiers have been involved in at least four armed confrontations in recent weeks.

Brazilian troops that were patrolling the Bel-Air neighborhood were attacked last week by seven armed men. The Army returned the fire, and one of the armed men was killed.

The lieutenant-commander said that the increase in gang activity coincided with the rotation of the Brazilian forces stationed in Cité Soleil in mid-May. The fifth Brazilian contingent arrived in Haiti on June 6.

"It was precisely during this period that a gradual escalation of activities occurred among the gangs themselves and then against the posts occupied by Brazilian troops."

Nascimento went on to say that the troops have counted on the support of community leaders in both Cité Soleil and in the Cité Militaire neighborhood.

These leaders, he said, are attempting to do community improvement and assistance work in closer association with the Brazilian battalion and the MINUSTAH troops.

ABr

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