Kenyan Special Forces to Help Haiti: A Glimmer of Hope or Just More Chaos?

Last Updated: June 16, 2024By

Kenyan Special Forces to Help Haiti: A Glimmer of Hope or Just More Chaos?

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Hey there! Have you heard the news? Kenyan special forces, who have been fighting tough battles with al-Shabaab in East Africa, are about to arrive in Haiti. Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, recently said that Haiti is on the brink of becoming a completely failed state. That’s some serious stuff!

Kenyan Forces on the Way

A small group of Kenyan officers touched down in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Monday. This is just the beginning of a bigger UN-backed mission to bring some stability back to Haiti, which has been through a lot of chaos lately. Imagine the airport being closed for nearly three months because gangs took over. That’s how wild things have gotten!

According to Kenyan news, about 200 more officers are expected this week, right when Kenya’s President William Ruto is visiting the US. Altogether, around 1,000 Kenyan agents will join, along with officers from countries like Chile, Jamaica, and Nigeria. That’s a lot of boots on the ground!

“This Time We Mean Business”

A top official from Kenya’s interior ministry said, “the first boots [would] hit the ground” in a few days and added, “This time we are serious.” It’s clear they’re ready to make a big impact.

Signs of Progress

Blinken, speaking in Washington DC, mentioned that reopening Haiti’s main airport is a good sign of progress. He’s hopeful that US airlines will start flying there again soon.

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The first Kenyan officers to arrive are from elite groups like the recce squad and rapid deployment force. These guys are tough and have experience dealing with violent armed groups. They’ve faced Islamist insurgents on Kenya’s border with Somalia, so they know what they’re doing.

Can Peace Finally Come to Haiti?

Some people are excited about this new mission, thinking it might finally bring peace to Haiti. The country has been in turmoil since the 2021 assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse. Blinken believes US support for this mission is essential to bring order and weaken the gangs’ grip on the country.

William O’Neill, the UN’s top human rights expert in Haiti, thinks that the arrival of a strong force might make many of the young gang members give up. He mentioned that a lot of these gang members are just teenagers, not much older than 15 or 16, and they don’t have any real ideology. They’re not like the Taliban or al-Shabaab.

Will the Gangs Back Down?

O’Neill believes the top gang leaders might put up a fight, but their poorly trained foot soldiers probably won’t. He thinks they’re more likely to drop their guns and run when they see a bigger force. “The one thing the gangs respect is a bigger force,” he said.

Doubts and Concerns

However, not everyone is convinced this intervention will work. History shows a lot of failed attempts to bring peace to Haiti. The last big UN mission, led by Brazil from 2004 to 2017, managed to regain control from armed groups but also faced accusations of human rights violations and even caused a cholera outbreak.

Blinken knows some people in Congress are worried about the mission, but he stresses that US aid is vital. He’s urging Republican leaders to lift their holds on the funding. “I know some people have concerns about the United States being the ‘policeman of the world’,” he said, but he believes it’s crucial to support Kenya and other countries stepping up to help Haiti.

Local Voices and Opinions

Members of Haiti’s own police force are frustrated. They feel the resources for the new mission could have been used to support their efforts. One officer told the Guardian, “Buy ammunition, give us helmets … give us assistance. We can do it,” highlighting the dire situation of the Haitian national police, who don’t even have a single helicopter.

Back in Kenya, not everyone is on board with sending their police to such a dangerous place. Opposition politician Millie Odhiambo called it a “death trap.” There are definitely mixed feelings about this mission.

What’s Next?

So, what’s going to happen next? Will this new multinational mission finally bring peace to Haiti? Or will it just be another failed attempt? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – Haiti needs help, and the world is watching closely.

What do you think? Can these efforts turn things around for Haiti? Let’s hope for the best!


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