Haitian protester killed by UN in cholera riot

Nepalese peacekeepers deny they are to blame for the epidemic, which threatens to afflict up to 200,000 people

After violent clashes in Haiti between protesters and United Nations forces that left several wounded and one civilian dead, UN officials yesterday were endeavouring to discredit claims that the cholera outbreak in the country can be traced to a contingent of peacekeepers recently deployed there from Nepal.

Attempts to blame the arrival of the disease – never before documented in Haiti – on conditions at an encampment of Nepalese peacekeepers in an area on the Artibonite River were described as "misinformation" by UN spokesperson Corinne Momal-Vanian.

The unrest began on Monday and was centred on Haiti's second-biggest city, Cap-Haitien, in the north, which remained mostly sealed off yesterday.

Clashes were reported in towns in the central plateau. The dead man was reportedly shot by UN forces during an exchange in Quartier Morin, near Cap-Haitien. The Haitian Government said last night that the death toll from outbreak had surpassed 1,000.

While demonstrations continued in parts of the north of the country, the UN said they were being contained. "Right now, security forces... seem to have control already of the situation," insisted Vincenzo Pugliese, a spokesman for Minustah, as the UN mission in Haiti is known.

Even before this week, the country's radio waves were speculating that the Nepalese soldiers could be the source of the epidemic which has also put almost 15,000 in already over-stretched hospitals. Some experts fear that unless it is contained quickly the water-borne disease could afflict as many as 200,000 people in Haiti where sanitary conditions are scarce.

In a statement, the UN Mission said the finger-pointing is tied to the presidential elections due at the end of this month. "The way events unfolded suggests that these incidents were politically motivated, aimed at creating a climate of insecurity on the eve of elections. Minustah calls the people to remain vigilant and not be manipulated by enemies of stability and democracy," the mission commanders said.

In Geneva, meanwhile, officials with the World Health Organisation insisted that combating the cholera outbreak in Haiti was more important at the moment than tracing its source. "At some time we will do further investigation but it's not a priority right now," said Fadela Chaib of the WHO.

The victim in Quartier Morin was reportedly shot in the back at a time when UN tanks were being targeted by stone-throwing protesters. The UN said it was investigating the shooting but insisted that the soldier who fired the shot had acted in self-defence.

Suspicions were directed at the Nepalese after reporters from the Associated Press went to the area where they are deployed and wrote of "foul-smelling waste" trickling towards the river from their camp.

There are cases of cholera in Nepal and the soldiers arrived in Haiti one week before the first cases were reported there.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said, moreover, that the strain of cholera now raging through Haiti is one previously seen in South Asia. There have been fears that as the cholera spreads pressure will grow for a delay in the elections on 28 November. However, for now that seems unlikely.

"We cannot postpone the election because of the cholera," insisted one of the candidates, Leslie Voltaire. "You don't know, if you postpone the election by a month or two, the cholera may be worse than it is today."

That emotions are running high in Haiti will surprise no one. The country suffered terribly with January's devastating earthquake. But beyond that, Haitians have often harboured resentment towards outsiders who they believe have brought them additional woe.

Thus, for example, another presidential candidate, Garaudy Laguerre, seemed deliberately to stir popular anger over the cholera outbreak at a recent rally in Miami, where there is a large number of Haitians eligible to vote. "Too often, Haitians die without reasons and without consequences. This time, there will be consequences," he said, vowing to open an investigation into the source of the outbreak if elected.

According to the Nepalese, there have been no cases of cholera in their camp and commanders in Kathmandu denied yesterday there was any link between their soldiers and the outbreak.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn