Haiti Interim Force Rises to 3,300; Confiscates Arms
By Jim Garamone
level in Haiti has risen to 3,300, and members of the Multinational
Interim Force now are stabilizing parts of the troubled country
beyond the capital of Port-au-Prince, Defense Department officials
said here today.
Task Force – Haiti now has 1,800 U.S., 760 French, 330 Chilean
and 340 Canadian military personnel assigned, U.S. Southern Command
officials said. The operation now has a name: Operation Secure
command of U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, troops of
the force are confiscating illegal weapons as they come upon them,
officials said. "(Confiscating weapons) is not one of the
missions delineated by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1529,"
said Southern Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Lounderman. "The
mission is to return the country to stability and prepare the
way for a follow-on U.N. force."
in the hands of both rebels and the followers of former Haitian
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide are a serious impediment to stability
in the nation.
the illegally armed groups is a long-term process, officials explained.
The force on the ground can start the process, but follow-on troops
must continue it, Southern Command officials said, as gangs possess
thousands of illegal weapons in Haiti.
have reported that markets have food, and that humanitarian relief
is flowing to all regions of the country. Medical aid is most
needed right now, said U.N. officials, and a long-term plan is
needed to ensure the violence does not return.
officials said the U.N. assessment team has finished its look
at what a follow-on force must need. The team is returning to
New York today, and will make its recommendations to the Security