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Kenya says Haiti deployment due in 'next few days, few weeks'

By AFP

May 19, 2024 05:07 PM


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Kenyan police will deploy to Haiti within weeks to lead a UN-backed multinational mission aimed at tackling gang violence, a senior government official in the East African country said Sunday.

"That deployment will happen in the next few days, few weeks," Korir Sing'Oei, Kenya's principal secretary for foreign affairs, told reporters, shortly before President William Ruto travels to Washington to meet US counterpart Joe Biden on May 23.

Haiti has suffered from poverty, political instability and natural disasters for decades, and the multinational force has been tasked with helping its beleaguered police rein in criminal gangs.

Kenya pledged last July to deploy up to 1,000 personnel to Haiti, an offer welcomed by the United States and other nations that had ruled out putting their own forces on the ground.

But the mission has faced legal challenges, with Kenyan petitioners in an ongoing case accusing Ruto's government of "blatantly" ignoring a January court order prohibiting the deployment as unconstitutional and illegal.

According to the latest lawsuit, petitioners had been "reliably informed" that the deployment may take place no later than May 23, "hence the urgency of this application".

A Haitian source had told AFP in early May that a first contingent of 200 Kenyan police was expected by that date.

A source in the Kenyan interior ministry told AFP they could arrive by next Tuesday.

Aside from Kenya, other countries who have voiced willingness to join the mission agreed under a UN resolution in October last year include Benin, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados and Chad.

The situation in Haiti, a country of 11.6 million people, began deteriorating in late February as well-armed gangs that control most of Port-au-Prince and much of the country went on a rampage they said was aimed at toppling then prime minister Ariel Henry.

 


AFP


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