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US welcomes Kenya’s move to send police to tackle gang violence in Haiti

In a significant move to address the escalating gang violence in Haiti, Kenya has taken the lead in forming a multinational police force to combat criminal elements that have gained control over much of the capital and are spreading their influence throughout the Caribbean nation.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken have expressed strong support for Kenya’s decision to lead the multinational force.

The United States, through the UN Security Council Resolution, has pledged its backing for this critical effort to aid Haiti’s government in restoring order and safeguarding strategic installations.

The Organization of American States has also welcomed Kenya’s announcement, expressing its appreciation for the commitment shown by the East African nation.

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Last year, Haiti’s government sought international assistance to address its security challenges, garnering the UN’s support for a security force to be deployed by member states.

However, no country had been willing to lead such an effort until Kenya took the initiative.

Now, Kenya has offered to deploy a contingent of 1,000 police officers to train and assist the Haitian National Police in restoring normalcy to the nation.

This move marks Kenya’s commitment to solidarity with all people of African descent worldwide and aligns with the African Union’s diaspora policy and Pan-Africanism principles.

Foreign and Diaspora CS Alfred Mutua stated that a task force would soon be dispatched to Haiti to assess the operational requirements for this police mission.

“At the request of Friends of Haiti Group of Nations, Kenya has accepted to positively consider leading a Multi-National Force to Haiti,” CS Mutua said.

“Kenya’s commitment is to deploy a contingent of 1,000 police officers to help train and assist Haitian police to restore normalcy in the country and protect strategic installations.”

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Joining the international effort, the Bahamas’ government has also welcomed Kenya’s decision and pledged to contribute 150 individuals to support the multinational force, subject to authorization from the United Nations.

Haiti’s gangs have gained significant power following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, with estimates suggesting that they now control up to 80 per cent of the capital. The surge in violent crimes, including killings, rapes, and kidnappings, has prompted civilian vigilante groups to rise up against the gangs.

This security crisis in Haiti has been compounded by a political crisis, with the country stripped of all democratically elected institutions since the expiration of the terms of its remaining 10 senators in early January.

Haiti’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Victor Généus, expressed appreciation for Kenya’s show of African solidarity and looks forward to welcoming Kenya’s proposed evaluation mission in the coming weeks.

Kenya’s proactive leadership and commitment to restoring peace in Haiti signal a vital step in addressing the security challenges faced by the nation and fostering international cooperation to combat crime and violence in the region.

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