Kenya and Haiti Renew Plans to Address Gangs

( – On Friday, March 1st, Kenya and Haiti reached an agreement to deploy one thousand Kenyan police officers to Haiti. This deployment aims to address the country’s notorious gang violence, which has escalated to its worst point ever.

However, the plan to deploy Kenyan police officers, announced in October 2023, faces legal obstacles. In January, Kenya’s High Court ruled against the deployment due to missing agreements between the two countries.

While Kenyan President William Ruto and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry witnessed Friday’s signing ceremony, questions remain about its impact on the court’s decision despite addressing the lack of reciprocal agreements. Additionally, doubts persist regarding the Kenyan National Police Service’s ability to deploy officers outside the country.

Further complicating the situation, Kenyan opposition leader Ekuru Aukot, who challenged the deployment through the courts, argues that Prime Minister Henry lacks the authority to make such agreements on behalf of Haiti.

Meanwhile, during his visit to Kenya, Prime Minister Henry emphasized the importance of holding elections soon in Haiti, believing it will bring stability and attract investment, key factors for the country’s recovery. However, he and other officials have consistently cited ongoing gang violence as a major hurdle to holding these elections.

Despite the pledge from leaders for elections by mid-2025, the situation in Haiti remains volatile. Prime Minister Henry’s return to the country is uncertain due to a recent surge in gang violence in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

On Thursday, gunmen targeted the city’s main airport, police stations, and other locations, leaving many residents terrified. The violence resulted in the closure of the airport, businesses, and schools, with reports indicating the deaths of at least four people.

Jimmy Chérizier, the leader of the G9 Family and Allies rebel group, reportedly took responsibility for the attacks. He aims to detain key figures like the police chief and government officials and prevent Prime Minister Henry’s return to Haiti.

The assassination of President Moïse in 2023 marked a turning point, leading to a rise in both gang power and political instability. Over 8,400 people in Haiti were reportedly killed, injured, or kidnapped in 2023, painting a grim picture of the dire situation the country faces.

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