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Security Conditions Don’t Yet Exist for Kenyan Police Deployment to Haiti

The deployment of the initial contingent of Kenyan police to Haiti this week, as part of the State Department’s Multinational Security Support Mission (MSSM), is now on hold, due to major delays in procurement of all the equipment required to ensure adequate security, the Miami Herald reported May 22. The expectation was that the first 200 officers would arrive in Haiti to coincide with Kenyan President William Ruto’s state visit with President Joe Biden this week. The U.S. Defense Department and Southern Command have been frantically making flights into Port-au-Prince over the past two weeks, transporting civilian contractors and construction equipment, plus armored vehicles and food rations for the National Police—but it wasn’t enough.

There aren’t enough armored vehicles, radios and other communications equipment, or helicopters for medical evacuation. Because Haiti has no functioning hospitals, any casualties will have to be airlifted out of the country. Construction of the barracks and base to house the foreign police is in the very early stages. Unnamed U.S. congressional aides told the Miami Herald that, while this has been presented as a Kenyan-led mission, in practice it is led by the U.S., which is providing the “overwhelming preponderance of money.” Nor has the money for the overall deployment, $600 million, even been raised. Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) are refusing to release $40 million in Congressional funds that the White House has requested, claiming there is insufficient information about the MSSM—its goals, timeframe, etc.

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