Preparations to deploy Kenyan police to Haiti ramp up, despite legal hurdles

A convoy of cars carrying members of a Kenyan delegation leave the premises of Haitian National Police after meeting with Frantz Elbe, chief of the Haitian National Police, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Aug. 21, 2023. [Reuters]

The head of Haiti's national police visited Kenya Thursday, as local authorities prepare for the deployment of Kenyan police to the Caribbean nation plagued by gang violence.

Kenyan authorities said Thursday that Frantz Elbe, on a fact-finding mission, met Kenyan police chief Japhet Koome on Thursday.

Elbe "is on a three-day official visit to Kenya for bilateral security discussions between the two law enforcement agencies," a statement from Koome's office said. No more details were given.

In October, the U.N. Security Council approved the deployment of a Kenyan-led foreign armed force to Haiti to help bring gang violence under control.

More than 1,230 killings and 701 kidnappings were reported across Haiti from July 1 to September 30, more than double the figure reported during the same period last year, according to the U.N.

Elbe's visit comes days after a Kenyan team flew to Haiti for discussions with authorities there.

Kenyan police would lead a U.N.-backed multinational force to Haiti, but the proposed deployment has proved controversial as it faces a legal hurdle at home.

Kenyan officials told The Associated Press that the first group of about 300 officers is expected to be deployed by February, with authorities still awaiting the verdict in a case that seeks to block the deployment. A decision is expected in January.

The planned deployment was first blocked by the High Court in Nairobi in October. The court's decision came hours after Kenya's parliament passed a motion allowing the deployment of the security officers.

The total deployment would eventually rise to 1,000 officers as part of a multinational force of 3,000 sent to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. Jamaica, the Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda are among the countries pledging to contribute troops.

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