US military sets up barracks in Haiti for Kenyan police officers

The Military in the United States of America (US) is currently setting up a barrack in Haiti where Kenyan police officers who will be deployed to the country will be operating from, the Nation has confirmed.

The operation, which the US Southern Command is coordinating, saw several civilian contractors being deployed to Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince to put up base.

In a statement, the Southern Command in the US said the civilians will be working alongside officials at Haiti’s main airport located within the Capital City of Haiti to ensure they achieve their mission.

“These personnel will be working alongside Haitian airport officials to secure the equipment and supplies that have arrived in Haiti,” the Southern Command said.

According to the statement, there was continuous support from various people in Haiti who ensured that the airport was open despite gangs causing chaos across the country.

Until March 2024 when former Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigned from the position following a series of chaos that were being witnessed in the Caribbean-based country, plans of deploying a multinational security force were underway.

It is worth noting that Mr Henry had visited Kenya to discuss the same and how officers would be deployed to his home country but it became hard for him to go back home.

This is after ruthless gangs stormed the city and set free prisoners from the main prisons in the country. The gangs also threatened to harm the political leader.

Kenya has remained silent on its plans to send police officers to Haiti as no government senior official is willing to speak anything on the same. However, President William Ruto has in the past maintained that plans to send police officers there were on.

On March 12, 2024, President Ruto said in a post on x, formerly Twitter, that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had briefed him on the latest developments in Haiti and that he assured Blinken of Kenya’s commitment to deploy a police force to Haiti.

“I assured Secretary Blinken that Kenya will take leadership of the U.N. Security Support Mission in Haiti to restore peace and security,” said the Head of State.

The US has in the past maintained that it was willing to contribute both finances and equipment to ensure that security is restored in Haiti.

Le Nouvelliste, which is a French Newspaper this week reported that a first contingent of Kenyan officers is expected in Haiti before the end of May 2024.

“Le Nouvelliste has confirmed this information with a Haitian official,” reported the Daily Newspaper.

Dr Resila Onyango who is the National Police Service Spokesperson in Kenya did not respond to our inquiries on whether the report by the newspaper was true or not.

By January 2024, Kenyan police officers who were scheduled to be deployed to Haiti had been fully trained.

The teams from the Rapid Deployment Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit, General Service Unit and Border Patrol Unit completed their training on January 4.

At least 1,000 police officers are set to be deployed to the gang-ridden nation. While in the Caribbean based nation, the officers are expected to dress in General Service Unit (GSU) jungle green uniform as their official combat attire.

Apart from Kenya, other countries that will send officers to Haiti are; Chile, Jamaica, Grenada, Paraguay, Burundi, Chad, Nigeria and Mauritius.

In February, a three-day meeting took place in the US where the deployment of Kenyan officers was discussed. Deputy National Security Advisor Joseph Boinnet led the Kenyan delegation.

During the meeting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted which included the date when the Kenyan officers were expected to arrive in Haiti.

However, the plans to have the Kenyan officers sent to Haiti were disrupted by the resignation of the former Prime Minister.

Currently, nine individuals who have been tasked with ensuring that it forms the next Haitian Government are in charge of the country.

Since they took oath of office on April 25, 2024, they are yet to mention plans to have Kenyan officers deployed to their country.

Instead, they are busy trying to figure out how the next government will take office and this has led to differences amongst them.

The nine include seven who have powers to vote and two who do not enjoy the voting privilege. They include; former central bank governor Fritz Alphonse Jean, former ambassador to the Dominican Republic Smith Augustin, barrister Emmanuel Vertilaire, former senate president Edgard Leblanc, ex-senator Louis Gerald Gilles, businessman Laurent Saint-Cyr and Leslie Voltaire, a former diplomat.

The non-voting observers are evangelical pastor Frinel Joseph and Regine Abraham, who once worked for the World Bank and the country’s environment ministry respectively.

It is worth noting that gang leaders in Haiti plus officials of various activism groups are opposed to the deployment of Kenyan officers to the country.

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