Troops take on looters in Haiti strife

AFP January 19
Port-au-Prince – Troops struggled Tuesday to control looters in Port-au-Prince a week after the earthquake which devastated Haiti, as rescuers still pulled babies and women from the rubble and kept alive hope of finding more survivors.

With the stench of urine and decomposing bodies still hanging over the capital, U.S. soldiers moved onto the streets and UN chief Ban Ki-moon asked for 3,500 extra international troops and police to help protect relief supplies.

Thousands of homeless Haitians were prey to bands of looters swarming through the ruins of the capital, with the police and military officials tasked with protecting the homeless nowhere to be found.

Troops in combat gear fired off rounds and hauled some people to the ground to try to stop the worst of the pillaging.

Approximately 1,700 U.S. troops were on the ground overseeing the aid effort and trying to provide security.

More than 2,200 Marines arrived on the USS Bataan, boosting overall U.S. troop numbers to 7,000 either in Haiti or offshore, and U.S. commanders have promised more than 10,000 personnel would be in the disaster zone in coming weeks.

The UN Security Council was expected to approve on Tuesday Ban’s request for 3,500 more troops and police for the battered UN mission in Haiti.

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