Five Serbian police (MUP) members currently serving with the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti are deployed at the center of an epidemic, and political conflicts.
“We don’t go out at night. During the day we move around in groups, we use only secure roads,“ one of the five Serbian policemen told Belgrade Politika newspaper.
“Some people see us as saviors, but others, a minority, consider us to be their prey. If you give them a chance, they will take it,“ the officers said.
Stationed at Petionville, a part of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, the MUP men are at the heart of a cholera epidemic and the epicenter of political clashes, that have plagued this Caribbean country on the eve of presidential elections scheduled for November 28.
The disease has up until this point taken the lives of more than 1,300 people, and the local population from the towns in the north, to the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, believes that the 12,000 UN peacekeepers are responsible for spreading the epidemic, writes the daily.
The media around the world are reporting about protests in front of UN bases and police stations, but our peacekeepers are not directly involved in securing peace and order on the streets. Instead, they on the security detail of a person “high in the Haitian political hierarchy”.
Against a backdrop of deadly disease and fierce street demonstrations, the Serbian peacekeepers eat only safe food, carry with them at all times antibacterial products, and are deployed with the UN Security – an organizational unit of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), whose basic task is to protect UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment.
“Because of our particular past work experience in the most complicated security conditions, we were assigned the special task of directly protecting a high UN official, a citizen of Haiti, and a former close colleague of the UN secretary-general, Mr. Ban Ki-moon,“ says the commander of the Serbian contingent, Aleksandar Pavlović.
However, he does not wish to disclose the name of the politician, since his identity is protected by UN security procedures.
The Serb policemen meet with their Haitian colleagues and other citizens, and say they feel particularly strongly about the plight of Haiti’s poor.