Attacks in Haiti in last hours before election

A leading presidential candidate for Sunday’s election in Haiti escaped an apparent assassination bid when gunmen opened fire on a rally, killing one person and wounding several, London’s Telegraph reports.

The election is being held as the impoverished nation is ravaged by a cholera epidemic which has killed around 1,600, and as it still recovers from a catastrophic earthquake in January.

A spokeswoman for Michel Martelly, a popular singer-turned politician widely known as “Sweet Micky,” described the attack as an assassination attempt. Jude Celestin, an engineer supported by President Rene Preval, former first lady Mirlande Manigat, and Mr Martelly are among the front runners among 18 candidates.

In earlier electoral violence, two people were shot dead late Monday in Beaumont, a small town in southwestern Haiti, when supporters of Mr Celestin and candidate Charles Henri Baker squared off armed with firearms, rocks and bottles.

Britain said on Saturday that it is paying for more than 1,000 doctors, nurses and support staff to work in Haiti as part of an aid package worth more than £5.6 million to help stop the spread of cholera.

The aid will set up 12 major cholera treatment centres and 60 other treatment units for the disease, help provide clean water, and monitor its spread.

Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said the aid was desperately needed to save huge numbers of lives and prepare for the spread of the disease beyond Haiti’s borders, possibly to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

“Analysis from the UN and our own field team reveals that the response needs to be significantly increased if we are to save thousands from the disease,” he said.

“We must stop the disease spreading further and trained medical teams and equipment funded by the British taxpayer will bring crucial relief to the devastated country.”

Britain is also giving help to the islands of St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines which are recovering from Hurricane Tomas.

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