Armed MINUSTAH Soldiers Break into Toussaint Louverture Airport, Shots Fired
- Monday, June 06, 2011 9:43 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A group of armed soldiers, part of the United Nations Stablization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) created panic Sunday afternoon at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport.
According to a feed from the Agence HaÃ¯tienne de Presse , the soldiers stormed in guns drawn at customs workers in a "mission" contrary to international principles and a nation's right of customs.
The men arrived on board a war chariot, burst into the arrival hall of the airport then proceeded to break through the airport's customs department where luggage had been deprived of at least two men associated with the soldiers who had arrived aboard a Insel Air Flight from Miami.
Customs officers in the course of their regular work had begun to see in the luggage of the passengers, taxable merchandise such as laptops and projectors. Over a certain limit in value, items entering a nation are taxed at customs. These are laws not unique to Haiti.
The armed group was reported to have intervened cutting short the verification of the merchandise being brought in to the country, taking with them the passengers who were being detained, and their luggage.
Once out of the airport, while loading into their tank, the soldiers fired shots into the air to intimidate and possibility of intervention. These incidents occurred in the presence of the Police Commissioner at the Airport, airport workers and passengers.
According to sources in the airport, products imported by MINUSTAH are privy to a diplomatic status and exemptions, but the passengers at the airport were identified as private and their imports.
The same sources say that the United Nations mission generally respects the protocol and principles established, but not on this occasion.
Passengers, in shock, wondered what would have happened if customs officers had not complied with the soldiers, given the manner of the intervention. Passengers suggested that these men wanted to hide something by preventing the inspection of the luggage.
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Source: Agence HaÃ¯tienne de Presse