At 2000 gmt on 22 June, Haitian Radio Metropole reported that tension was high in downtown Port-au-Prince today particularly in the Champs de Mars area, on Lamarre Street, Pavee Street, Miracles Street, Montalais Street, and lower Lalue. Heavy shooting occurred in these areas, and according to witnesses, a group of more than 100 individuals, men and women, were responsible for this situation of tension.

The group came from Bel-Air. Most of them were armed and did a lot of shooting when they reached Montalais Street. Two people were injured during the incident. The police and Minustah (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti) soldiers came afterwards to try to regain control of the situation. The police arrested several people for questioning.

A witness in the Montalais area explained that this group of bandits today was in larger numbers than usual, and they operated in the area for about 30 minutes. A witness estimated the number of bandits, men and women, who invaded Montalais Street at 200 to 250. He pointed out that this army of bandits was heavily armed as usual. He said that the bandits go out shooting on a regular basis. Not just every day, he said, but every two or three hours in the area.

Brazilian Minustah troops carried out an operation in Bel-Air this morning that allowed them to free the assistant director of the National Port Authority, Mariette Thomas, who was kidnapped last week. According to Minustah soldiers, they began this operation last week but only managed to free the woman today.

She was hidden in a house on Rue Mariella in Bel-Air. The victim was tortured. The bandits had already gone when the Brazilian troops got there. Brazilian Lt Col (Novaes Andre) explained that the troops operated in Bel-Air every day to look for bandits.

He said that some Bel-Air residents were able to show them several other places where other kidnapped people were kept. The soldiers found a great deal of munitions, communication radios, telephones and cocaine. Lt Col Andre said that Minustah was still looking for more information to help them find the bandits. Operations will be carried out on a regular basis, he said.

Another Brazilian Minustah patrol carried out other operations in the Solino area and on Delmas 2. Three alleged bandits were injured and one killed in a shootout with Minustah soldiers. The UN soldiers found lots of munitions, one kilo of cocaine, marijuana and arrested five bandits. A stolen vehicle belonging to an American citizen was recovered and handed over to the police, concludes Lt Col Andre.