400 Kenyan police officers depart for Haiti to lead UN-backed mission

400 Kenyan police officers depart for Haiti to lead UN-backed mission

First group of officers aims to tackle gang violence and restore stability in Haiti on a UN-backed international initiative

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - A contingent of 400 Kenyan police officers, the first of a 1,000-strong force, departed the capital Nairobi early Tuesday for Haiti.

The officers will lead a multinational effort to combat powerful gangs and restore order in the Caribbean nation.

President William Ruto, during a pre-deployment briefing at the Administration Police Training College in Embakasi, said "Kenya has solid credentials in peace-making and conflict resolution globally. Our police officers' presence in Haiti will give relief to the men, women and children whose lives have been broken by gang violence."

"We will work with the international community to bring lasting stability in Haiti," he added.

The deployment, which began just minutes past midnight in Kenya, comes amid a surge in violence and political instability in Haiti, with gangs controlling large swaths of the capital and overwhelming local authorities. The mission is backed by the United Nations and involves support from various international forces.

The Kenyan police, drawn from specialized units such as the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) and the General Service Unit (GSU), will lead the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti, where officers from other countries will also join.

Haiti has been struggling with gang violence and political instability for years. The situation has worsened in recent months, with kidnappings, killings, armed robberies and other violent crimes becoming commonplace.

Haiti has called for international assistance to help restore order and security.

​ The US has pledged $100 million in funding for the UN-led mission if approved by Congress, and several other countries including Canada, Jamaica and Senegal have expressed their support for the initiative.

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