Kenya to lead Haiti security support mission

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In a notable first for Africa, Kenya will lead a multinational security support (MSS) mission to Caribbean country Haiti assisting police in quelling gang violence and restoring security.

The mission, according to a United Nations (UN) statement, was requested by the Haitian government and civil society representatives, following months of chaos and worsening conditions affecting civilians.

There have been more than 3 000 murders reported this year and over 1 500 instances of kidnapping for ransom. Around 200 000 fled their homes with sexual violence and abuse against women and girls at the hands of armed gangs on the rise.

The resolution, adopted this week by the UN Security Council (UNSC), will also see the MSS be part of securing critical infrastructure including the airport, ports, schools, hospitals and key intersections. Other mission taskings are set to include humanitarian, economic and political challenges.

Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Defence, Aden Duale, last month told US (United States) Secretary for Defence, Lloyd Austin, the East African country was “ready to bring peace” once the MSS was approved.

While the resolution was adopted under the UN Charter, it will not be an official UN mission such as those in, for example, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

Speaking at the UNSC during the Haiti MSS approval debate, Kenyan Ambassador and UN Permanent Representative, Martin Kimani, said “this action [approval of the MSS] ignites a beacon of hope for the beleaguered people of Haiti”.

There is, as yet, no indication of mission structure, number of countries that will participate or when it will become operational. Haiti Foreign Minister Jean Geneus urged UN member stated to commit to the MSS “as quickly as possible” to help restore a safe and stable environment and re-establish democratic institutions.