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Haitian PM to visit Kenya over police deployment

Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry will be in Nairobi in a bid to clear roadblocks on the way for the deployment of Kenyan police officers to restore peace and order.

The PM will visit Kenya after the 46th Ordinary Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of State and Government in Guyana which took place on February 28.

“Next, the Prime Minister will travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to finalise modalities for the deployment of the MSS with Kenyan authorities and those of other countries in the African continent,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office dated February 25, said.

His main task in Nairobi will be meeting top security officers in Kenya to discuss and sign agreements before the deployment of the officers to Haiti. This comes a few months after a team from Haiti visited Kenya to hold discussions over the same matter.

The 1,000 Kenyan troops picked for the mission comprise teams from the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU), General Service Unit (GSU), and Border Patrol Unit.

Some two weeks ago, Haiti announced that it is working on an official agreement with Kenyan officials to secure the long-awaited deployment of the police officers from Nairobi.

Earlier this week, the United States Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that Benin will also be contributing 2,000 troops to assist in the multinational security force approved by the UN to curb gang violence in the Caribbean country. Kenya will be leading the process.

She added that the deployment has to be hastened owing to the increasing cases of violence in the Caribbean nation ravaged by over 300 gangs that control a larger part of the capital and accounted for 83 per cent of killings and injuries recorded last year. At least 8,400 people were killed by the gangs last year.

“This mission is key to helping the Haitian National Police restore peace and security, enabling free and fair elections, and alleviating the humanitarian crisis,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

It had been planned that the Kenyan team be deployed to Haiti this month but this was delayed following a court ruling that blocked the process. The court ruled that the government lacked the authority to send police officers outside Kenya.

It further stated that there is a need for reciprocity, as dictated by Kenyan laws, to enable Kenyan police officers to be deployed abroad. This saw Haiti send a memorandum of understanding to Kenya on the need to deploy the police officers there.

President William Ruto, after the ruling, said Kenya would complete all the processes specified by the court to send troops for the Haiti mission.

The US had initially said it would give 200 million US dollars (approx.Sh29.4billion) and vowed to increase measures to stem the flow of illicit arms to Haiti. The UN believes most of the firearms being smuggled to this Caribbean country come from the US.

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