Kenya agrees to send 1,000 officers to Haiti to curb gang violence News
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Kenya agrees to send 1,000 officers to Haiti to curb gang violence

Kenya and Haiti signed a security deal on Friday which will see Kenya deploy 1,00 police officers to Haiti, a country which has increasingly fallen victim to gang violence, to help restore order. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry thanked President William Ruto and the people of Kenya for their commitment to Haitian security. Ruto pledged that his government would accord the Kenyan forced all of the necessary support to make the mission a success.

A multinational security support mission in Haiti was originally authorized by the UN Security Council on October 2, 2023. Since then, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, and Chad have formally notified the UN of their intent to contribute personnel to an international force to help Haitian national police fight armed gangs, UN Secretary-General Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Thursday.

Widespread gang violence has rendered much of the country lawless and ungovernable. In 2021, assassins killed former President Jovenel Moise in the capital of Port-Au-Prince. On Thursday, the violence became so severe that operations at the country’s main airport had to shut down as multiple police officers were killed.  The UN Drug and Crime Office raised concerns earlier this year about the spike in gang violence. UN experts expressed concern that the violence may spillover into the rest of the Caribbean.

Though the Kenya-led mission was officially authorized in October 2023, it has faced challenges passing through Kenya’s domestic approval process. Most recently, on January 26, the Kenyan High Court in Nairobi ruled that the state’s decision to deploy police officers to Haiti was unconstitutional. According to the court, Kenya would only be able to send police officers to Haiti if Kenya and Haiti have a reciprocal agreement under sections 107 and 108 of the National Police Service Act. Kenya’s Parliament previously endorsed the mission in November 2023, defying the High Court’s temporary suspension of the mission pending a further legal decision.

The High Court’s January 26 decision struck down a plan to send 10,000 police officers. It is unclear whether the Friday agreement to send only a fraction of the initially promised deployment will receive or survive the same level of scrutiny.