Kenyans Welcome Suspension Of Police Deployment To Haiti Over Escalating Violence

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Kenyans on Wednesday welcomed the government’s decision to halt plans to deploy at least 1,000 police officers to Haiti following the unprecedented violence that erupted in the Caribbean nation.

Kenya had agreed last October to lead a U.N.-authorized international police force to Haiti, but the country’s top court in January ruled this was unconstitutional, because of a lack of reciprocal agreements on such deployments between the two countries.

Nairobi resident Lameck Ochieng said he was not surprised by the court ruling. “Our children who were going to be killed outside (in Haiti) now are safe,” he said.

“As a Kenyan, this is the situation which we saw before, even the courts ruled against it (deployment of Kenyan police to Haiti). But the outcome has not that much scared me because we knew that it was something which was not going to be achieved”

Kenya’s President William Ruto said that he and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry had witnessed the signing of the reciprocal agreements between Kenya and Haiti on March 1, clearing the path for the deployment.

“Haiti has no government, it has no structure so it’s not advisable, you know. Let’s say, if our government really cares for our people, they wouldn’t even consider doing that (deploying Kenyan Police to Haiti)” said Rose Wanjiku, a student.

Under the plan, the U.N.-backed multi-national police led by Kenyan officers was to help quell gang violence that has long plagued Haiti.

But violence escalated sharply since Feb. 29, with gunmen burning police stations, closing the main international airports and raiding the country’s two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.