January 7, 2006

U.N. commander in Haiti kills himself: UN officials

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - The commander of a United
Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti shot himself dead on
Saturday, U.N. officials said.

Brazilian Lt. Gen. Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar killed
himself in a room at the Montana hotel in the troubled
Caribbean country's capital, the officials said.

Few other details were immediately available.

Teixeira da Matta took over the U.N. peacekeeping force at
the end of August.

The mission, known by its acronym MINUSTAH, was sent to
Haiti to keep the peace between supporters and foes of former
president Jean-Bertrand Aristide after Aristide was ousted
following a monthlong armed revolt in February 2004.

But the country of 8.5 million people has continued to be
afflicted by political violence and a wave of kidnappings has
swept through Port-au-Prince despite the presence of around
9,000 Brazilian-led U.N. troops and police.

Haiti has also struggled to organize its first presidential
election since Aristide fled into exile. Originally scheduled
for November, the ballot has been repeatedly put off and is now
expected to take place in February.

Haiti's interim authorities have blamed the U.N. mission
and the Organization of American States for the delays, a
charge both organizations resolutely refute.