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29716:(news) Chamberlain: Haiti-Violence (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>


   PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 22 (AP) -- U.N. peacekeeping troops traded heavy
gunfire for more than five hours Friday with gangs in a slum of the Haitian
capital, and at least five people were killed.
   U.N. armored personnel carriers converged on the seaside slum of Cite
Soleil early in the morning and fighting quickly erupted between the two
sides, according to witnesses.
   Later, people who live in the slum showed Associated Press photographers
the bodies of five men they said had been killed by fire from the U.N.
troops. Two others, including a young boy, had gunshot wounds.
   In past gunbattles in Haiti's crowded, maze-like slums, people have been
struck by crossfire from both sides so it was not possible to confirm who
shot the five men.
   The U.N. released a statement saying it had launched a joint operation
with Haiti's National Police in Cite Soleil as part of an effort to fight a
recent upsurge in kidnapping and other violence by gangs based in the slum.
U.N. representatives could not immediately comment on reports of
   U.N. forces were also seeking to take back control from the gangs of a
principal route through the slum at the northern edge of the capital,
   It was not immediately known if there were any casualties among the
international force, which came to Haiti following the rebellion that
ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.