PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - At least two people were killed when UN troops exchanged gunfire with gangs in Haiti's capital on Wednesday, a witness said.
The clash took place near the dangerous slum of Cite Soleil, not far from the national airport in Port-au-Prince. Panicked passers-by fled the heavy gunfire.
"Two ladies who work in a nearby factory were killed by bullets," said a young man who identified himself as Maxime. "A man who was running away from the scene of the incidents was shot and fell on the ground."
"It was a real war," said resident Jackson Jeudi, who took refuge in abandoned factory in the area.
UN officials said they could not confirm the reports of deaths. UN spokesman David Wimhurst said peacekeepers came under attack and returned fire.
The 9000-strong UN peacekeeping force was deployed to the violence-torn Caribbean country to restore order after the ouster in February 2004 of then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted by a bloody rebellion.
Violence has escalated in recent weeks in Haiti's trouble slums, home to armed gangs that supported Aristide.
About 20 people died in clashes between rival gangs in the Martissant neighbourhood two weeks ago.