June 16, 2005: Headlines: COS - Haiti: Newsday: The Peace Corps has suspended operations in Haiti and evacuated its 16 volunteers because of increasing violence

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Haiti: Peace Corps Haiti : The Peace Corps in Haiti: June 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Haiti: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Peace Corps: Peace Corps Suspends Program in Haiti : June 16, 2005: Headlines: COS - Haiti: Newsday: The Peace Corps has suspended operations in Haiti and evacuated its 16 volunteers because of increasing violence

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The Peace Corps has suspended operations in Haiti and evacuated its 16 volunteers because of increasing violence

The Peace Corps has suspended operations in Haiti and evacuated its 16 volunteers because of increasing violence

The Peace Corps has suspended operations in Haiti and evacuated its 16 volunteers because of increasing violence

Peace Corps Suspends Haiti Operations

By STEVENSON JACOBS
Associated Press Writer

June 16, 2005, 10:02 PM EDT

Caption: A Brazilian United Nations peacekeeper patrols in the Desaline neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, June 16, 2005. Gunmen opened fire on U.N. troops patrolling the gritty, sprawling seaside slum of Cite Soleil Thursday, wounding two peacekeepers, a U.N. official said. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The Peace Corps has suspended operations in Haiti and evacuated its 16 volunteers because of increasing violence, officials said Thursday, even as gunmen wounded two U.N. peacekeepers during a shootout in a slum.

The withdrawal comes three weeks after the State Department warned Americans against traveling to Haiti and ordered nonessential U.S. personnel to leave. All 16 volunteers left Haiti earlier this week, Peace Corps spokeswoman Barbara Daly said.
Peruvian U.N. soldiers were patrolling the sprawling seaside slum of Cite Soleil in an armored vehicle when they came under fire from armed gunmen, U.N. military spokesman Lt. Col. Elouafi Boulbars said.

One soldier was hit in the chest and listed in critical condition, while another soldier was shot in the knee, Boulbars said. Both were being treated at a U.N. military hospital in the capital, Port-au-Prince. It was unclear if any gunmen were wounded.

Plagued with insecurity, the State Department warned there was no effective police force in much of Haiti, beset by gunbattles and kidnappings since the February 2004 armed uprising that toppled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

An ill-equipped police force and 7,400 U.N. peacekeepers have struggled to control slums filled with armed gangs, many of them loyal to Aristide.

The Peace Corps volunteers had been working in rural areas on projects including small business development, agricultural assistance and HIV/AIDS prevention, Daly said. She said the Peace Corps would consider returning to Haiti "once the situation has stabilized."

"It's very disappointing for us to have to leave," Daly said. "We determined that it was in the best interest of the volunteers that we suspend the program at this time."

The Peace Corps has been working in Haiti since 1996. It pulled out during the armed uprising that ousted Aristide, returning six months later.

More than 700 people -- including 40 police -- have been slain in Haiti since September, when Aristide supporters began stepping up calls for his return from exile in South Africa.

Critics accuse the Haitian police of brutality, summary executions and persecution of Aristide loyalists. The interim government says the police are outgunned and outnumbered by politically allied gangsters.





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Story Source: Newsday

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Haiti

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