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Battle Line Drawn: Kenyan Police Arrive in Haiti to Tackle Daredevil Gangs

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A contingent of Kenyan police officers has arrived Haiti capital city of Port-au-Prince.

The deployment marks the fourth major foreign military intervention in the country, which has been plagued by gang violence and political instability.

The Kenyan police force, comprising several hundred officers, landed at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Their arrival comes nearly four months after gangs launched coordinated attacks on key government infrastructure, including police stations, the main international airport, and prisons, releasing over 4,000 inmates.

The situation in Haiti has been dire, with gangs controlling approximately 80% of the capital city and leaving over 580,000 people homeless.

The violence has also resulted in the deaths of several thousand people in recent years.

While some Haitians have welcomed the arrival of the Kenyan police, others have expressed caution, citing concerns about the potential for human rights abuses and the lack of transparency regarding the mission’s objectives and rules of engagement.

Romain Le Cour, a senior expert at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, emphasized the need for clarity on the mission’s strategy and concept of operation. “We haven’t heard about a proper strategy about the mission on the ground, what is going to happen vis-a-vis the gangs,” he said. “Is it a static mission? Is it a moving mission? All those details are still missing, and I think it’s about time that there’s actually transparency.”

The United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti has welcomed the deployment, stating that it is a “crucial step in the fight to restore security in the Haitian capital and its surroundings and protect the rights of Haitians.”

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For many Haitians, the arrival of the Kenyan police offers a glimmer of hope in a situation that has seemed hopeless.

Orgline Bossicot, a 47-year-old mother of two who sells carrots and charcoal, expressed her gratitude for the deployment. “We’ve been asking for security for the longest time,” she said.

“You don’t know who’s waiting for you around the corner. We are a target.” She added that she is hopeful about the Kenyan police joining forces with local authorities, stating that it would be “a great step forward for me, for Haiti, and for a lot of people.”


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