Mark Bourque, a retired RCMP officer who was part of a Canadian police contingent helping provide security for the upcoming elections in Haiti, has been killed by gunmen in Port-au-Prince.
Bourque, 57, from Stoneham, Que., is the eighth UN peacekeeper to be killed in Haiti in the past 18 months, and the fourth shooting victim in the past five days.
According to Damien Anses-Cardona, a spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission, Bourque was shot at by two unknown gunmen while on patrol in CitÃ© Soleil, a sprawling, impoverished suburb of the capital.
Another UN spokesman, David Wimhurst described CitÃ© Soleil as "an extremely violent slum area of the city run by armed gangs."
According to Wimhurst, Bourqe "was driving along Route Nationale 1 and the car came under fire. The police officer was hit in the leg, very seriously injured in the leg. His partner tried to help him as much as he could.
"An armoured personnel carrier, from the UN came in to extract him and got him to the Argentinean hospital ... unfortunately they couldn't save him and he died at approximately 11 o'clock this morning."
He died in hospital after losing a lot of blood. His colleague wasn't injured.
On Friday, three Chilean peacekeepers were ambushed and shot in the north of the country, near Cap Hatien. Their injuries are not described as life threatening.
Bourque's death brings to eight the number of peacekeepers that have died in Haiti since the UN established a mission there in June 2004. Four have died in accidents, according to U.N. officials, 30 others have been wounded.
There are 125 active and retired RCMP officers on duty in Haiti amid the nearly 9,000 UN soldiers trying to bring order to that country.
Prime Minister Paul Martin condemned the killing. In a statement he said "Bourque was in Haiti as part of Canada's efforts to promote good governance and democracy, and his work there exemplified to the world the finest of Canada's values.
"Canada condemns this senseless act of violence. We are profoundly saddened by the loss of a fellow Canadian who served his country with distinction both at home and abroad. He died while serving his country, and he will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he touched and helped make better."
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said he joins "all Canadians in honoring his sacrifice and grieving his loss."
Bourque was one of 25 retired police officers sent to Haiti in October 2005 to reinforce the UN mission in providing security for upcoming elections. He was serving as a police technical adviser and as a liaison between the Haitian national police and the UN force.
Bourque was working under contract with Canadem, a non-profit agency dedicated to advancing peace and security in the world through recruitment, screening and rapid mobilization of Canadian experts.
Bourque and fellow officers were sent to Haiti by the federal government following a request from the UN under an agreement with Canadem to provide specialists.
The former police officer's family has been notified. The Department of Foreign Affairs is working with UN for repatriation of Bourque's body.
Haiti has scheduled legislative and presidential elections for Jan. 8.
The country has been wracked by political and gang violence and since a bloody rebellion overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Feb. 2004.