Gunmen killed two U.N. peacekeepers from Jordan in an ambush amid a rise in violence in the Haitian capital, the U.N. envoy to Haiti, said on Saturday.
The soldiers were heading back to base in a truck late on Friday when gunmen attacked near an industrial park next to the airport and just outside of the volatile slum of Cite Soleil.
At least 14 U.N. soldiers have been killed since the June 2004 deployment of the 9,000-strong peacekeeping mission to stabilise the Caribbean country of 8 million.
“Our troops were in a military truck when they were attacked,” envoy Edmond Mulet told Reuters. “They returned fire but two Jordanian soldiers were killed,” giving no further details.
One soldier died while being transported to hospital and the other died while receiving treatment at the U.N. hospital near the airport, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti said in a communique.
The U.N. force was deployed after a rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.
Aristide, who faced intense U.S. and French pressure to quit, was replaced by a U.S.-backed interim government that handed power in May to President Rene Preval who won an election in February.
The ambush comes amid an increase in violence and threats from armed gangs in Port-au-Prince after months of relative calm.
The violence has included several incidents involving U.N. troops, criminal gangs and civilians, and police reported 40 kidnappings in October up from 30 the previous month. Many abduction cases go unreported.
A gang called the Revolutionary Army in the Martissant slum told reporters on Thursday it would kill those it described as its enemies, referring to Haitian police and U.N. peacekeepers, following the arrest of one of its members.
The gang blocked a road leading to the south of Haiti and attacked a police car, killing one of its occupants, police said.
“We take those threats very seriously and we will face them with vigour and determination,” Haitian police spokesman Frantz Lerebours told Reuters on Saturday, adding police and peacekeepers had a plan to counter the violence.