Sunday, January 17, 2010

1000 Canadian Troops Heading to Haiti

The federal government announced Sunday that 1,000 french speaking troops from Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec would start heading to Haiti next week as disaster relief from around the globe poured into the Caribbean country following last week's devastating earthquake.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the troops would take about a week to arrive.

"There's a lot of moving parts. We have equipment going in, we have Canadians going out and we will have these soldiers, beginning early next week, flowing into the country," Mr. MacKay said at a news conference in Ottawa on Sunday morning.

He described the situation in the capital as "grave and fragile" with stress and anger creating security problems.

"There's no doubt the security situation is volatile," he said. "We have Canadian forces that are trained specifically in crowd control."

There was evidence of that instability this weekend.

Reporters for Global National came across the bodies of two men with their hands bound behind their backs. Their limbs had been hacked at by machetes and they had been shot in the head.

People nearby said police had killed the men for being thieves.

The earthquake has left prisons in shambles, allowing some inmates to escape, adding to security concerns in the region.

More than 1,150 Canadians remain missing in the devastated country, and 1,122 have been located since the 7.0-magnitude quake on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs minister Lawrence Cannon confirmed at the same Ottawa news conference Sunday.

Hundreds of Canadians have been flown back to Canada on military aircraft with another plane load arriving on Sunday morning. In total, nearly 600 people have been rescued.

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