Haiti mission won’t be walk in the path

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023 00:01 | By
G9 gang coalition leader Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue (right) talks to reporters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on October 6, 2021. PHOTO/AP
FILE - Flanked by members of the G9 gang coalition, leader Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue, right, talks to reporters near the perimeter wall that encloses Terminal Varreux, the port owned by the Mevs family, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 6, 2021. The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 demanding an immediate end to violence and criminal activity in Haiti and imposing sanctions on Barbecue, a former police officer. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
G9 gang coalition leader Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue (right) talks to reporters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on October 6, 2021. PHOTO/AP

As was anticipated, the United Nations Security Council yesterday voted to send a stabilisation mission to Haiti.

Though several countries, including the United States which is only about 3,000 kilometres away from Haiti, have taken a cautious approach towards sending their forces to the North American nation, Kenya has gleefully offered to dispatch 1,000 officers for the pacification mission.

Countries such as the US, Canada and Mexico that could step in to pacify the situation are reluctant to send peacekeepers because earlier interventions have failed. Only Jamaica, Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda have offered to send its police officers alongside Kenya.

Kenya’s mission in Haiti is obviously not going to be a walk in the park, given the fact that the East African nation has never deployed her law enforcement officers to such a volatile situation that has been aptly described by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as “a living nightmare.”

There are as many as 300 gangs, controlling much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city, where they maim, rape, kidnap, engage in human, drug and gun trafficking.

Critics claim Kenya could be acting at the behest of the US, which has already promised to provide logistical, equipment and intelligence support to the Kenyan mission.

Besides language barrier, members of the Kenyan mission would also be faced with challenges of operation in a foreign terrain, usage of military equipment they are not used to, problem in getting timely and credible intelligence reports and lastly, facing off a hardened criminal gang that has the support of locals.

Questions have also been raised about the US’ seeming reluctance to control the proliferation of sophisticated arms from its soil to the Haitian gang members.

Critics of the US policy on Haiti have called for more to be done to stop the trafficking of weapons into Haiti, most of which leave ports in Florida, though some also make their way into the country via its porous border with the neighboring Dominican Republic.

However much Kenyan leaders are excited with the Haiti pacification mission, they need to address the many unanswered questions lingering over it.

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