Kenyan Police Arrive in Haiti for US-Backed Security Mission Amidst Escalating Gang Violence

Kenyan police officers have arrived in Haiti as part of a US-backed security intervention aiming to rescue the Caribbean country from a criminal insurrection that toppled the prime minister and brought death and chaos to the streets.

About 400 members of the Kenya-led multinational police operation stepped off a Kenyan Airways plane at Port-au-Prince’s international airport on Tuesday. The US president, Joe Biden, hailed their arrival as the start of “an effort that will bring much-needed relief to Haitians”.

“Rampant gang violence has killed or harmed thousands of children, women, and men. Over half a million people have been displaced … The people of Haiti deserve to feel safe in their homes, build better lives for their families and enjoy democratic freedoms,” Biden said in a statement.

It is not clear what the officers’ first task will be but their objective is to steer Haiti out of a security crisis that has been intensifying since the president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in 2021. Kenyan news reports suggest they will be responsible for defending key infrastructure including the airport, the port, the presidential palace, and the gang-controlled highways connecting the besieged capital with the rest of Haiti.

Biden said the eventual 2,500-strong force would also count on personnel and financial support from Benin, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Algeria, Canada, France, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the UK and Spain.

In recent months, Haiti’s crisis has reached new extremes, even for a country that has suffered devastating natural disasters such as the 2010 earthquake, and centuries of foreign exploitation and dictatorial rule. The UN says more than 2,500 people have been killed or wounded this year as increasingly powerful gangs launched a coordinated uprising that paralysed the capital and forced the prime minister, Ariel Henry, to resign.

Henry’s replacement, a former Unicef official, Garry Conille, was appointed earlier in June and is tasked with leading the country towards its first elections since 2016.

The international mission will be led by Noor Gabow, a senior Kenyan officer who studied criminology at Bramshill police college in the UK and has experience in peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

Leave a Comment

Related Articles

English News

Facebook Feed

Our YouTube Channel