400 Kenyan troops leave Nairobi to address gang violence in Haiti

400 Kenyan troops leave Nairobi to address gang violence in Haiti
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400 Kenyan troops leave Nairobi to address gang violence in Haiti.

The first group of Kenyan police officers tasked with addressing the widespread gang violence in Haiti are departing Kenya on Tuesday and are expected to arrive later this week.

  • The first group of Kenyan police officers tasked with addressing the widespread gang violence in Haiti are departing Kenya on Tuesday.
  • The initial group of 400 officers is departing on Tuesday, with 600 officers to follow later
  • The multinational force to restore security in Haiti is primarily funded by the United States and includes personnel from Kenya, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados, Chad, and Bangladesh

According to Reuters, the development was announced by the U.S. State Department on Monday.

Speaking to reporters, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said “We hope to see further measurable improvements in security, particularly concerning access to humanitarian aid and core economic activity,”

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In July 2023, Kenya volunteered to lead an international force to combat violence in Haiti, where gangs dominate much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and are responsible for widespread killings, kidnappings, and sexual violence.

Kenya had promised to send 1,000 troops to the Caribbean nation. However, the deployment faced multiple delays due to legal challenges and worsening security conditions in Haiti, leading to the resignation of former Prime Minister Ariel Henry in March.

The Kenyan government has also faced controversies surrounding the mission.

A former US diplomat alleges that Ruto’s involvement in the Haiti mission is driven by financial motives. Initially, the US government pledged $100 million (Ksh. 13 billion) to support the Kenyan-led multinational force to restore security in Haiti.

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Coincidentally, the troops are embarking on the Haiti mission amidst protests in Kenya against a finance bill that seeks to increase taxation.

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Preparation for the mission

Four officers, who requested anonymity due to lack of authorization to speak publicly, reported that their weapons and personal belongings were collected Sunday evening to be loaded onto the plane.

Kenyan President William Ruto held a departure ceremony on Monday for 400 officers who constitute the first contingent deploying to Haiti.

“This mission is one of the most urgent, important and historic in the history of global solidarity. It is a mission to affirm the universal values of the community of nations, a mission to take a stand for humanity,” Ruto said.

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Another group of around 600 officers will join the first contingent later, the four officers said. They said they expected to stop in a third country before reaching Haiti.

In addition to Kenya, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados, Chad, and Bangladesh have committed personnel to the 2,500-strong mission, primarily funded by the United States.

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