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Peacekeepers Free Kidnapped Haiti Customs Workers

UN Peacekeepers Free Kidnapped Haitian Customs Worker Held By Armed Group

New York, Jun 23 2005 2:00PM

As the United Nations mission battled attacks and abductions in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, a Brazilian was the latest peacekeeper shot and seriously wounded in the poor district of Cité Soleil.

The Brazilian officer was shot in the chest yesterday during a joint patrol by <"http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minustah/">MINUSTAH military and civilian forces and the Haitian National Police (HNP) in Cité Soleil district, according to the mission spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Boulbars Elouafi. The wounded soldier underwent surgery in the neighbouring Dominican Republic and was in stable condition.

The exchange of gunfire between UN peacekeepers and armed groups has intensified since February when there was a successful jailbreak. Some 400 of the escaped prisoners are still at large.

In another district, Bel-Air, one of the Brazilian units of MINUSTAH freed customs employee Mariette Thomas, who had been held for two days, and placed her five suspected kidnappers in HNP custody, he said yesterday.

During the Bel-Air operation, the unit also seized weapons, valuable objects and a large amount of illegal drugs, Mr. Elouafi said.

"An important security apparatus has been put in place to respond to the wave of violence and kidnappings taking place in the Haitian capital," he said, adding that MINUSTAH was determined to end the state of insecurity.

ENDS

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