Haiti: First patrols of the Kenyan police in Port-au-Prince Haiti: First patrols of the Kenyan police in Port-au-Prince

Haiti: First patrols of the Kenyan police in Port-au-Prince

Haiti: First patrols of the Kenyan police in Port-au-Prince

Kenyan police officers wearing bulletproof vests and carrying automatic weapons were seen patrolling the streets of the Haitian capital on Wednesday.

The group, the first contingent of U.N.-backed foreign police officers in the country, arrived in Haiti in June, nearly two years after the troubled Caribbean country urgently requested help to end a surge in gang violence.

Criminal gangs currently control about 80 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The surge in violence in Haiti has displaced more than 580,000 people in recent months, according to a recent report by the United Nations International Organization for Migration.

On Wednesday, the small group of officers did not stray far from the international airport in Port-au-Prince where they are based.

The patrol attracted the curiosity of passers-by, but took place without any gang confrontations or incidents.

Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille told the Security Council on Wednesday that he welcomed the implementation of the Multinational Security Support Mission.

"Haiti is currently at a critical point with 12,000 armed individuals holding a population of 12 million hostage," Conille said. "The deployment of the first contingent of police officers alongside Haitian law enforcement should help put an end to the barbarity of criminal groups."

Hundreds of Kenyan police officers arrived in Haiti on June 25 as part of the Multinational Security Support Mission to help free the country from the grip of armed criminal gangs.

They will then be joined by police and soldiers from the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Chad and Jamaica, a total of 2,500 people.

MarΓ­a Isabel Salvador, head of the United Nations integrated office in Haiti, said indiscriminate gun violence has spread to several regions of the country and gang violence has hampered the recruitment of new police officers.

"This first deployment is an important step in the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2699 and gives hope to the Haitian people," said Ms. Salvador.

1 Comments

  1. It marks a crucial step in the UN-backed mission.

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