UNITED NATIONS – Gunmen killed two Jordanian U.N. peacekeepers and seriously wounded a third Tuesday at a checkpoint in a slum in Haiti's capital that is a stronghold for supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a spokesman said.
The shootings in the teeming slum of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince occurred three weeks before long-postponed elections to replace the interim government imposed after Aristide fled the country.
The three Jordanian peacekeepers were manning the checkpoint when they came under fire, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
One was apparently killed instantly while the other two were taken to a hospital where one died of his wounds. The other was listed in serious condition, he said.
The shootings came a day after Haitian politicians and business leaders rallied in front of U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince to press the peacekeepers to end violence jeopardizing the Feb. 7 presidential and legislative elections.
The rally took place a week after a general strike was called to protest a wave of kidnappings by armed gangs that has terrified people and overshadowed efforts to restore democracy.
Late last week, chanting protesters filled Cite Soleil's narrow streets to denounce violence and political chaos after clashes between gangs and U.N. peacekeepers reportedly left one person dead and at least 17 wounded.
The Feb. 7 elections have been repeatedly postponed because of logistical and security problems in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.
Cite Soleil, home to some 300,000 people, is a stronghold for supporters of Aristide and Rene Preval, a one-time ally of the ousted president who is considered the front-runner in the election.