Kenya Considers Leading Multinational Force in Haiti Amid Surge in Gang Violence
The government of Kenya is in talks with the United States to potentially lead a multinational force in Haiti, aiming to curb the escalating violence perpetrated by heavily armed gangs. The East African nation has expressed willingness to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti, where the situation has become dire. However, details and agreements are yet to be finalized.
Kenya’s Offer and U.S. Involvement After U.S. officials learned of Kenya’s interest in leading a security mission in Haiti, a delegation was sent to Nairobi. Kenya’s willingness to “positively consider” deploying forces in the Caribbean nation has emerged as a significant step forward in addressing Haiti’s chaotic security situation.
President William Ruto’s government has been a vocal advocate of African countries taking a leadership role in Haiti. The U.S. delegation, during its meeting with Kenyan officials, discussed intentions and expectations, resulting in Kenya’s announcement to seriously explore how they might assist in Haiti.
A Delicate Situation in Haiti
Violence and kidnappings have led to the deaths of dozens of Haitians recently, and the withdrawal of non-emergency personnel from the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince. The complex security environment includes options ranging from large-scale military intervention to more strategic efforts.
A gang federation led by Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier has intensified the humanitarian crisis, with a blockade causing scarcity of diesel, gasoline, food, and drinking water. Despite backing from the U.S., countries have been reluctant to lead a mission in Haiti, making Kenya’s offer vital.
Mission Details and Challenges Ahead
If Kenya commits, the police officers sent will undergo pre-deployment training on human rights, and there will be ongoing discussions about accountability. Kenya’s mission is anticipated to be a hybrid arrangement, operating under a Security Council mandate, with a cost estimated between $200 million and $400 million a year.
The situation in Haiti is unprecedented, with gangs terrorizing communities daily. Haiti’s relationship with foreign interventions adds to the complexity. While some countries have volunteered to help, like The Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, they lack the capacity to lead. Therefore, Kenya’s decision could play a pivotal role in stabilizing Haiti and regaining control from the gangs.
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