Kenyan Police advance team returns from Haiti as deployment faces delay

Kenyan Police advance team returns from Haiti as deployment faces delay

Members of the Haitian military stand watch outside of a ceremony attended by members of Haiti's Transitional Presidential Council to mark Haitian Flag Day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on May 18, 2024. Haiti's transitional ruling council, which is leading the violence-wracked Caribbean nation, will rotate its leadership every five months according to a decree seen by AFP on May 11, 2024, following internal political strife among its members (Photo by Clarens SIFFROY / AFP)

An advance team of Kenyan police officers, who were in Haiti to assess readiness for a multinational force deployment to combat violence, is returning home due to logistical issues.

The team will return from Haiti on Monday after recommending a deployment delay, which was later announced by the president.

A senior Kenyan official, who spoke anonymously to ABC News because they are not the official spokesperson, revealed that the bases are still under construction and that essential resources, such as vehicles, are required before the first 200 Kenyan police officers can be deployed.

The deployment was supposed to begin this week, but President William Ruto said it would be postponed for three weeks.

According to a senior official who was part of the advance team, the base where the police will operate is about 70% complete, and the armoury requires secure storage.

Haiti is waiting desperately for the first members of a Kenyan-led multinational force tasked with ending the stranglehold of powerful and ultra-violent gangs, but their hoped-for arrival this week was delayed.

The deployment gained new urgency with the announcement Friday that gang members killed three missionaries, a Haitian and an American couple, leading to renewed calls for the force to get up and running.

"The security situation in Haiti cannot wait," said a spokesperon for the US National Security Council after word emerged of the killings.

The UN-backed security mission -- in which the United States is providing logistical support, but not boots on the ground -- is supposed to help Haiti's weak, outgunned police force defeat the powerful criminal gangs.

Gangs control much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as swathes of the country, and have long terroized people with random shootings, kidnappings and sexual violence.


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