Arrival of Kenyan Police Marks Critical Stage in Restoring Security in Haiti, Says Prime Minister

Date:

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 (Reuters) – Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille addressed the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, announcing that the arrival of the first Kenyan police officers as part of a U.N.-backed mission signifies a pivotal moment in efforts to restore security in Haiti, a nation besieged by gang violence.

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“The arrival of the first contingent of the Multinational Security Support initiates a new era in Haiti,” Conille told diplomats in New York. “Haiti is currently at a critical point with 12,000 armed individuals holding a population of 12 million hostage.”

Last week, approximately 200 Kenyan police officers arrived in Haiti, joining the long-awaited mission mandated to support national police in their battle against armed gangs controlling much of Port-au-Prince. This humanitarian crisis has displaced nearly 600,000 people and pushed 5 million into severe food insecurity. The full force is expected to exceed 2,500 officers, but the timeline for their arrival remains uncertain due to insufficient funding.

Haiti’s police force, already outgunned and under-resourced, had just over 12,000 officers by the end of May, down by 1,000 since the beginning of the year, according to a report by the U.N. Integrated Mission in Haiti (BINUH).

Dominican Republic’s Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez made a “urgent appeal to all countries that have committed funding to the MSS to fulfill their pledges and to deposit those funds as soon as possible,” referring to the Multinational Security Support by its acronym.

Without significant additional funding, BINUH warned that the mission could fail to complete its 12-month deployment, with its initial mandate set to end in October. The report also highlighted the increasing danger to civilians, including children, from stray bullets during clashes between police and gangs. Additionally, gangs are recruiting and arming more children in anticipation of the MSS deployment, complicating efforts to determine the ages of those killed or injured.

Prime Minister Conille emphasized the necessity of reforming the national police, whose chief he replaced shortly after assuming office last month, to rebuild public trust. Kenya’s U.N. deputy envoy Njambi Kinyungu reported that the first contingent of Kenyan officers had been warmly received and had begun joint operations with Haitian police.

Diplomats from China and Russia stressed the importance of curbing the flow of firearms to gangs. Most illegal guns seized in Haiti and the wider Caribbean have been traced back to the United States. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called for strengthening the U.N. sanctions regime by targeting traffickers, who are more vulnerable to foreign asset freezes and travel bans than the five local gang leaders already sanctioned.

“We do not see the current embargo doing anything to prevent the flow of arms from the U.S.,” Nebenzia said. “The committee experts are clearly not eager to get into a disagreement with Washington.”

The U.S. U.N. ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, countered that the government was “actively working” to enforce the arms embargo, highlighting recent prosecutions, a new e-tracing agreement, and regulations aimed at reducing gun sales without background checks.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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