Haiti Welcomes Kenyan Soldiers on International Peacekeeping Assignment

Haiti Welcomes Kenyan Soldiers on International Peacekeeping Assignment

As deadly gang violence rages throughout the Caribbean island, Kenyan military forces, functioning as part of a multinational security mission, arrived in Haiti on Tuesday with “strong support” from the US for their peacekeeping mission.

Reports state that on Tuesday, a Kenya Airways aircraft touched down at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, carrying 400 Kenyan military soldiers.

Over five million Haitians currently experience “severe” food insecurity due to gang-related obstacles to essential supplies. Since October 2022, over 7,500 individuals have died as a result of gang-related violence, according to the White House.

There have been reports of “widespread” gender-based violence in Haiti, leading to the displacement of over 500,000 individuals.

According to U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Dennis B. Hankins, “the Kenyans do not want to be one of these missions that show up on the ground and, for a month, they never leave their base,” the New York Times reported. “They want to be able to see quickly that they are making an impact.”

In March, the UN declared that precipitate action was required to put an end to Haiti’s “cataclysmic situation.” Even if the mission’s objectives might not be met right away, Biden claims that this new initiative will “provide the best chance of achieving them.”

Ariel Henry, the struggling prime minister of Haiti at the time, offered his resignation in March in response to growing calls to step down because gang violence had taken over the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Because the conditions for a free and fair election were not met at the time, Haiti’s transitional council named Edward Leblanc Fils president and Fritz Belizaire, the former minister of youth and sports, prime minister in April in an attempt to stem the rising gang violence in the Caribbean nation.

Arriving on the same day when furious and violent protests over a tax bill resulted in at least 13 injuries and at least five fatalities outside Kenya’s parliament building, was when the Kenyan military troops made their appearance.

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Hankins told the Times that one of the first tough decisions to be made would be whether to seize control of the central hospital in the city or secure the port to allow much-needed supplies to enter.

According to the U.S. ambassador, Kenyan forces will “support” Haitian police, but they won’t be replaced by foreign teams, so leaving won’t leave “a security vacuum.”

The White House claims that this mission will help the Haitian National Police “build their capacity to maintain public safety and ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches those in need” while they step up their anti-gang operations.

In the meantime, “critically important” accountability and oversight mechanisms have been implemented, according to the Biden administration.

“And we will continue our diplomatic outreach to encourage more countries to join this effort,” Biden stated. “Because what happens in Haiti matters to its neighbors, the region and the world.”

It occurs shortly after a woman, the daughter of a state legislator from Missouri and her husband, were murdered by gangs in Haiti last month while visiting the war-torn island nation on a mission trip. The Americans left the violence as tensions rose.

In a prepared message, Biden stated, “Haiti is an extraordinary country, and the people of Haiti deserve what people everywhere deserve: security, opportunity, and freedom.”


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