- The Washington Times - Monday, February 12, 2007

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers raided Haiti’s largest and most violent slum Friday, seizing a portion of it in a six-hour gunbattle that left a gang member dead and two soldiers wounded, officials said.

More than 700 heavily armed blue-helmeted troops from seven countries participated in the pre-dawn raid on Port-au-Prince’s sprawling Cite Soleil slum, entering the mazelike shantytown in armored vehicles and on foot as U.N. helicopters circled above.

Two U.N. soldiers — from Brazil and Bolivia — were slightly wounded, one by gunfire and the other in an unspecified incident unrelated to the fighting, U.N. spokesman Jean-Jacques Simon said. Mr. Simon said U.N. troops killed one gang suspect and wounded four others.

“There will be no tolerance for the kidnappings, harassment and terror carried out by criminal gangs,” said Maj. Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, the Brazilian commander of the 9,000-strong international force. The raid was one of the biggest in months by peacekeepers, who were sent to this Caribbean country more than two years ago to quell violence in the chaos of a 2004 revolt that toppled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Associated Press journalists saw the blood-spattered body of a young man in a street. Witnesses said he was walking through the area when he was hit by gunfire. It was not clear who shot him and his identity was unknown. Later, journalists saw slum residents use a wheelbarrow to carry out a motionless woman bleeding from the chest. Her condition was not known.

Afterward, about 100 Cite Soleil residents protested outside the U.N. military base in the slum, chanting, “We want peace.”

On Dec. 22, U.N. troops raided another part of Cite Soleil to break up a kidnapping gang. The United Nations said six gang suspects were killed, but slum dwellers said 10 persons, all civilians, died. U.N. spokesman David Wimhurst said gang members apparently fled the area and no arrests were made.

Meanwhile, an American missionary kidnapped outside the Haitian capital was freed on Friday, U.N. police and friends said, though reports conflicted about whether Nathan Jean-Dieudonne, 58, a U.S. citizen of Haitian descent, was harmed.

AP writer Stevenson Jacobs contributed to this article.

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