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Second Contingent of Kenyan Police Coming to Haiti in 'Coming Weeks,' Caribbean PM Says

© AP Photo / Marckinson PierrePolice from Kenya stand on the tarmac of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport after landing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Police from Kenya stand on the tarmac of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport after landing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 03.07.2024
Haiti has long been rocked by gang violence, but conditions sharply worsened at the end of February when armed groups launched coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince, saying they wanted to oust then-prime minister Ariel Henry. Gangs have been accused of murder, rape, looting, and kidnapping, affecting food security and humanitarian relief.
A second contingent of the Kenya-led multinational policing mission in Haiti will arrive "in the coming weeks," Prime Minister Garry Conille told AFP on Tuesday.
"It will happen very quickly. We can already see in the coming weeks that we will have a second contingent," Conille said in an interview in Washington, where he is meeting with White House and State Department officials.
The first batch of some 200 Kenyan police officers, part of a mission greenlit by the UN Security Council, arrived in June in a bid to work with Haitian police to stabilize the country, where gangs control some 80% of the capital.
Conille declined to detail how many officers might arrive in the next wave, citing security concerns.
"But I can already assure you that there is planning being done to be able to gradually strengthen the presence" of those already in Haiti, he said.
Protesters scatter as Kenya police spray water canon at them during a protest over proposed tax hikes in a finance bill in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, June. 25, 2024. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 03.07.2024
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Conille spoke to AFP shortly after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the mission, which Washington is providing with logistical and financial support.
Henry stepped down amid the violence, handing power to a transitional council that tapped Conille as interim prime minister in May. He was sworn in last month.
The transitional government's job is monumental: to relieve the political, security and humanitarian crises devastating the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and to pave the way for the first elections since 2016.
The desire to help another country in need is noble; however, Kenya itself could find use for strengthening the police amid ongoing mass protests against over IMF-imposed tax increases. On Tuesday alone, police arrested more than 270 protesters. Moreover, at least 39 people have been killed, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.