Haiti: armed gangs surrender more weapons following UN-backed crackdown on crime

Crackdown on gang activity

22 March 2007 – Some of the most notorious armed gangs in Haiti are handing over their weapons following a United Nations-backed crackdown on crime in one of the violence-ridden country’s most dangerous areas which they had terrorized for years, the Cité Soleil neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

In recent days the armed gang leader in the Bélékou quarter, Amaral Duclona, handed over to the National Disarmament, Dismantlement and Reintegration Commission 16 automatic weapons and 2,000 cartridges of all calibres, while Claude Jeune, a member of the gang led by the notorious Evens Jeune, who was himself captured earlier this month, surrendered nine automatic weapons and munitions.

Just this Monday the armed group close to Jean Edy, alias Blade, in the Brooklyn quarter handed over 13 powerful weapons and 1,000 cartridges, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said in its latest update on the months-long security sweeps in which hundreds of UN peacekeepers teamed up with Haitian National Police (PNH).

“MINUSTAH operations in cooperation with the PNH are going to continue in high-risk areas,” Commission president Alix Fils-Aimé said, praising the mission’s role.

Meanwhile MINUSTAH, set up in 2004 to help re-establish peace in the impoverished Caribbean country after an insurgency forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to go into exile, is continuing its efforts to reinforce state institutions by promoting decentralization and better management of local finances, now that mayors are elected.

“In concert with the Haitian Government, MINUSTAH intends to accompany and support the new mayors in accomplishing their tasks,” the head of the mission’ Civil Affairs Section’s Unit of Institutional Support, Marc Plum, said of training sessions organized in the run-up to municipal elections, attended by 14,000 civilians and 1,000 candidates of the past year.

The mission is helping the Finance and Interior Ministries train some 60 financial controllers to assist the new municipal administrations in better managing their budgets.

“We will also work together with the Finance and Interior Ministries on ways to generate new local sources of revenue for the new municipalities to allow them to put in place better services adapted to the needs of their constituents,” Mr. Plum said.

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