Kenyan troops to land in Haiti before Ruto's US state visit

This means the team could leave Kenya for Haiti between May 18 and 22.

In Summary

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

•A top Biden official confirmed to the Miami Herald newspaper of the developments in Haiti.

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

All is set for Kenyan troops to land in Haiti, officials aware of the deployment said.

The first team of about 200 to be sent to the Caribbean nation was told at the weekend to be on standby for departure before President William Ruto lands in the US for a state visit.

This means the team could leave Kenya for Haiti between May 18 and 22.

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

A team of top Kenyan security officials arrived back from Washington DC where they finalised the plans for deployment..

The team arrived in the US on Monday, May 6, for a series of meetings and agreements on the deployment and left five days later.

“All is set and it is a matter of when to leave. We are just waiting for a signal,” an insider aware of the plans said.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing'oei said last week the troops are now ready to deploy.

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.

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

Todd D Robinson, the US 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.

Kenya will lead the multi-agency teams to Haiti to fight gangs.

American troops are active in building barracks to house the troops according to sources.

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.

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

Officials with the Department of Defense declined to provide details on their housing plans.The base's construction, however, is crucial."We don't want to send them into a situation where they're not securely housed and have a place to sleep, plan and do all of that," said Robinson according to the media house.

Ruto first pledged 1,000 of 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 Kenyan-led mission need 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 last week.

Henry had promised in March to step down once a council was installed after armed gangs rose up and 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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