Homicides in Haiti capital tied to gangs: UN
By Associated Press - PORT-AU-PRINCE (Haiti)
15th September 2012 10:26 AM
The bulk of recent homicides in Haiti's capital are tied to gang warfare, a United Nations official visiting the Caribbean nation said Friday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Ivan Simonovic of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said he learned this from meetings with Haitian police officials and Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon.
"They were saying, "Wait and see, autumn will be quieter,"" Simonovic said. "They didn't seem to be worried very much. Their explanation was focused on gang wars."
A recent report by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti said July was the most violent month since the January 2010 earthquake. That month, the U.N. personnel and police recorded 134 murders, compared to an average of 99 murders per month from March to July. There were only 75 during the same period in 2011.
The same study noted that the spike in homicides coincided with a decline in kidnappings.
The number of kidnappings dropped to 10 a month from March to July 2012, compared to 14 during the same period the previous year.
While the homicide rate in Port-au-Prince is lower than that of some other Caribbean cities, violent crime has been a major concern in recent months. A daily newspaper contains daily items on fatal shootings in the capital, a city of some 3 million people.
Just this week, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a statement saying that about 10 armed robberies occurred in the past two months after people made bank withdrawals near the diplomatic mission. In all cases, the thieves followed the victims on motorcycle and robbed them, the U.S. Embassy said.
The U.N. set up a peacekeeping force in Haiti in 2004 to provide stability following the overthrow of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The mandate of the mission is up for renewal Oct. 15, when it's likely to be extended.
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