Details of Kenyan police team that left for Haiti Saturday

The team that left Kenya Saturday will pave way for deployment of the first group of officers.

In Summary
  • Witnesses and insiders said a team of about “10 had left and would be joined by more others in coming days”.
  • They will hold a series of meetings in Haiti and prepare the ground for the arrival of the larger team.
Members of Recce squad of GSU. They are part of the team to go to Haiti
Members of Recce squad of GSU. They are part of the team to go to Haiti

The first small group of police officers deployed to Haiti left Kenya on Saturday night.

Officials said the team who insiders termed as recce and advance group were expected to assemble in Miami, USA ahead of planned departure for their intended destination-Port au Prince.

Witnesses and insiders said a team of about “10 had left and would be joined by more others in coming days”.

They will hold a series of meetings in Haiti and prepare the ground for the arrival of the larger team.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Singoei said Sunday that Kenya will deploy the police to Haiti in a few days.

“I can tell you for sure that deployment will happen in few days or few weeks but there is no chance at all for President Ruto to go down to Port au Prince as has been alleged,” he said.

The team that left Kenya Saturday will pave the way for the deployment of the first group of about 200 police officers in the coming days, officials said.

Plans were that the team would be in Haiti as Ruto arrived in the USA.

Ruto left for the USA on Sunday, May 19, at night for the weeklong trip.

The White House confirmed that President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host Ruto and his wife, First Lady Rachael Ruto, for a state visit on May 23 to mark the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Kenya diplomatic relations.

The first team that left Nairobi in a highly secretive operation was led by police commanders and some commandos.

This came amid reports civilian contractors have prepared for the arrival of Kenyan forces, whose deployment is currently in the works.

The barracks to be used by the Kenyan team have already been constructed.

Apart from Kenya, other countries that will send officers to Haiti are; Chile, Jamaica, Grenada, Paraguay, Burundi, Chad, Nigeria and Mauritius.

Kenya which will lead the team to combat the gangs plans to deploy more than 1,000 officers to Haiti to help in the mission.

The teams are from the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU), General Service Unit (GSU), and Border Patrol Unit (BPU). 

This is a combat-trained team that officials say can handle the situation on the ground professionally.

They have undertaken training in various areas including language.

Officials said they will be allowed to among others use the AK47 rifles for their operations.

This is because the weapons are their primary tool of training and operation.

“You don’t expect them to use other weapons that they have not handled in the past,” said an official aware of the plans.

This came as some activists rushed to try to stop the planned deployment.

For instance, the Law Society of Kenya issued a statement Sunday arguing the Court held that sections 107, 108 & 109 of the National Police Service Act must be complied with before any deployment is sanctioned.

“The provisions demand that Haiti must be gazetted as a reciprocating country and that its municipal law has provisions similar to our National Police Service Act. It has come to our attention that despite the court orders, the government has sanctioned the deployment,” LSK president Faith Odhiambo said.

“While it is reported that the CS Interior and the former Haitian Prime Minister executed a bilateral treaty purportedly authorizing the intended deployment of Kenyan Police officers, the Law Society of Kenya is compelled, in defence of the rule of law, to point out that the legal requirements, as interpreted by Justice C. Mwita have not been met.” 

She argued any move to deploy police officers to Haiti is unconstitutional and illegal.

A top Biden official had earlier confirmed to the Miami Herald of the developments in Haiti.

Todd D. Robinson, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told the Miami Herald an initial deployment of Kenyan police officers is being planned to coincide with the arrival of Ruto in Washington later this month.

"The initial deployment will happen sometime around his State visit," said Robinson, declining to give an exact date or the number of officers who will be deployed as part of the long-awaited Multinational Security Support mission.

Ruto said the country is ready to deploy police to the Caribbean country to contain gangs controlling much of it.

On May 3, a day after U.S. helicopters were seen flying through Port-au-Prince's dark skies, the U.S. Southern Command landed another aircraft at Toussaint Louverture International Airport, the media house reported.

The plane transported civilian contractors who will be providing support to the Pentagon to build out the area where the Kenyan support mission is supposed to be staying while in Haiti.

The Pentagon, which has pledged $200 million to assist in the mission, is responsible for making a base ready for the forces.

Congressional aides have said that requires 45 days.

Ruto first pledged 1,000 police officers in July 2023 to lead an international force to assist Haiti's national police, pending his government's security assessment and a mandate from the U.N. Security Council, which was given in October.

Since then, however, the initiative has faced one obstacle after another, from court challenges and judicial blocks in Nairobi to funding holds in Congress to the March 11 forced resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Though the court challenges appear to have been cleared, the initiative still lacks the proper funding.

Republican lawmakers in Congress have ignored a request by the State Department to release $40 million of the $100 million it has pledged to support the mission.

Amid the delay, thousands of Haitians have either lost their lives or been injured, and Haiti teeters on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe as millions of people are unable to find enough food to eat.  

The U.N., which has joined the U.S. in calling for assistance for the multinational force and humanitarian response, has said that the Kenyan-led mission needs to be deployed quickly.

Robinson said while there is currently enough money to pay for Kenya's personnel expenses and the initial deployment, more money is needed.

Haiti's transitional ruling council, which is leading the Caribbean nation following the resignation of its prime minister amid a wave of gang violence, chose politician Edgard Leblanc Fils as its head on April 30.

Announcement of the selection, which took place during a ceremony in the capital Port-au-Prince, comes after the long-awaited council was sworn in last week, marking a step forward in restoring functional government.

Leblanc Fils, a former Senate president, will have a coordinating role within the nine-member governing body as it attempts to restore a semblance of order.

The new council came to power as the unpopular and unelected prime minister Ariel Henry submitted his formal resignation.

Henry had promised in March to step down once a council was installed after armed gangs demanded his ouster.

One of the council's first tasks will be to appoint a new prime minister.

Haiti has no functioning parliament and has not had a president since the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021.  Elections were last held in 2016.

The transitional body is scheduled to lead the country until fresh polls, with an elected government to take over by February 6, 2026.

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