UN soldier injured in clash with Aristide loyalists.

A UN peacekeeper and a Haitian policeman were injured Saturday in a clash with loyalists of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Port-au-Prince.

According to reports from the capital of Haiti, the victims were attacked by armed groups during an operation in the Bel Air neighborhood, a stronghold of pro-Aristide forces.

The police have detained some mobsters and captured many weapons, said Haiti's General Police Director Leon Charles, adding some militants are hiding in a Catholic church of Bel Air.

Meanwhile, UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) spokesman Toussaint-Kongo Doudou indicated that it is impossible to determine the number of casualties among the pro-Aristide forces right now, as the violence is continuing.

On Friday, four loyalists of Aristide died in a skirmish with the police.

Officials said three police officers were beheaded by Aristide supporters last week as part of a campaign called "Operation Baghdad." Dozens have been wounded in shootings.

At least 26 people have been killed in violence that erupted as Aristide supporters stepped up protests on Sept. 30, demanding their leader's return from exile in South Africa and an end to "the invasion" of foreign troops, referring to US Marines who arrived as Aristide left in February and UN peacekeepers who took over in June.

Relief organizations feared the escalation in violence in Port-au-Prince would paralyze the distribution of food to tens of thousands of people after the devastating tropical storm Jeanne.

At least 2,500 Haitians were killed or reported missing in the disaster last month.

[Source: Xinhua News Agency, China, 10Oct04]

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