Belgium sends Warning to Kenya Ahead of Police Deployment to Haiti

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Belgium sends Warning to Kenya Ahead of Police Deployment to Haiti

A recent report from the International Crisis Group (ICG) based in Belgium, dated January 5, cautioned President William Ruto’s administration about potential difficulties Kenyan police officers might encounter if deployed to Haiti.

Despite Ruto’s assurance to the global community that Kenya would contribute to restoring peace in the gang-affected Caribbean country, the ICG expressed concerns about the readiness and capabilities of Kenyan police officers to effectively address the challenges in Haiti.

The planned deployment of 1,000 officers is expected to encounter internal resistance from the Haitian government, as the report highlighted corruption within the Haitian police force, political figures, and gangs inflicting terror on the vulnerable population.

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The International Crisis Group (ICG) additionally observed that Haiti is grappling with overcrowded prisons, and aside from the susceptibility of the police officers to compromise, they also face the challenge of being outnumbered in addressing the complex situation.

Furthermore, the Belgium-based group emphasized that the Kenyan police force slated for deployment might encounter significant difficulties in safeguarding civilians amidst urban warfare.

“The police are completely outnumbered and outgunned by the gangs,” the report warned.

In its report, the International Crisis Group also highlighted that the gangs, numbering over 300, had already seized control of 80 percent of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

“Where are the prison facilities to put thousands of gang members? Is the international community suggesting that we kill thousands of lads?” a security expert interviewed by ICG wondered.

“What structures are in place to reintegrate these young people into society? I’m appalled by what’s left unsaid.”

Moreover, a significant majority of Haitians hold the belief that the presence of Kenyan police is unlikely to have a substantial impact.

To date, approximately 200,000 citizens have fled the war-torn country, where gangs have been responsible for an estimated 4,000 deaths and 3,000 kidnappings in 2023.

Kenya’s peacekeeping efforts in Haiti are anticipated to receive support from troops hailing from Burundi, Chad, Senegal, Jamaica, and Belize.

However, the timeline and certainty of Kenya’s troop deployment remain unclear. In October 2023, the High Court extended a halt on the deployment to Haiti. This decision was made in response to a case filed by Lawyer Ekuru Aukot, who argued that the deployment was unconstitutional, lacking support from any law or treaty.

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Belgium sends Warning to Kenya Ahead of Police Deployment to Haiti

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