Haiti PM Vows To Retake Country As First Contingent Of Kenyan Police Arrive

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Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille has vowed to retake the country back as the first contingent of Kenyan police arrived in the Haitian capital on Tuesday.

The arrival of the Kenyan police to Haiti is to launch a long-awaited peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country that has been ravaged by gang violence, even as deadly protests back home prompted doubts.

“At last the multinational force is here to support our national police,” Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille said at a press conference, saying work to retake the country would begin “slowly, without major fights unless necessary.”

“But I want no one to doubt our objectives,” he said.

“The state will regain power and reaffirm its authority so all Haitians can live peacefully in this country.”

The mission was first requested by Haiti’s previous government in 2022. But support sagged and Conille’s predecessor was forced to resign in early March after travelling to Nairobi to secure Kenyan support while violence escalated back in Haiti.

The gang wars have now displaced over half a million people and nearly five million are facing severe food insecurity.

Armed groups, which now control most of the capital, have formed a broad alliance while carrying out widespread killings, ransom kidnappings and sexual violence.

“Kenya’s sole purpose is to serve as agents of peace,” Kenyan Foreign Minister Monica Juma told the press conference, saying police would prioritize protecting civilians, opening up routes for movement of people, goods and humanitarian aid, and protecting state institutions.

The deployment has lagged, she said, because as it is not a U.N. mission – though ratified by the U.N. Security Council – and time was needed to develop the plans together.

But even as uniformed Kenyan police disembarked from a Kenya Airways plane with weapons in hand in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, police back in Nairobi opened fire on anti-tax hike demonstrators trying to storm the parliament, with at least five protesters killed and dozens wounded.

The Kenyan police are expected to be joined by officers from some 15 other nations, including other countries in Africa and the Caribbean, as well as Canada, France, Germany, Britain and Spain.