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The administration of US President Joe Biden has urgently called for the deployment of a Kenyan-led security force to Haiti following the killing of three missionaries affiliated with a US organization. The missionaries were fatally shot by armed gunmen in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, which has been plagued by escalating violence by powerful armed groups. Kenyan President William Ruto, who recently visited Washington, DC to meet with Biden and other US leaders, discussed the deployment of the security force with Biden, who pledged support for its rapid deployment. The National Security Council spokesperson emphasized the need for immediate action in light of the security situation in Haiti and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

Among the victims of the attack were Natalie Lloyd and Davy Lloyd, who were working as missionaries in Haiti. Davy Lloyd was the son of the founders of Missions in Haiti Inc, the organization they were affiliated with. The third victim’s identity has not been released. The UN and other humanitarian organizations have been advocating for increased support for Haiti’s citizens, who have been grappling with gang violence and political instability exacerbated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021. The recent surge in unrest, which began in February with attacks on police stations and other state institutions by gangs, led to the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, leaving the country under the leadership of an interim presidential council amid ongoing concerns and uncertainty about the situation.

The humanitarian situation in Haiti has been dire, with hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children, affected by the persistent violence. More than 360,000 Haitians have been internally displaced, and over 1,500 people have been killed in gang violence since the start of the year. While there is a consensus among many Haitians that the country’s police force needs assistance to restore security, the impending deployment of a Kenyan-led foreign force has raised questions and concerns about its mandate and effectiveness. Former US special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, has criticized the lack of clarity regarding the mission’s objectives and approach in dealing with the gangs.

Kenya has committed 1,000 police officers to the UN-backed mission, which aims to combat the gangs and restore stability in Haiti. The mission, largely funded by the US, is expected to eventually have up to 2,500 personnel. However, the exact timeline for the mission’s launch remains uncertain, with reports indicating that the deployment has been delayed. Kenyan President Ruto has emphasized the importance of all nations taking responsibility for peace and security globally, including in Haiti, and has pledged to support efforts to combat the gangs and restore stability in the country. Despite past failures of foreign interventions in Haiti, Ruto expressed confidence that the Kenyan-led deployment would have a significant impact on destabilizing the gangs.

In light of the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Haiti, the urgency of addressing the security situation and providing assistance to the affected populations remains paramount. The deployment of a Kenyan-led security force, supported by the US, is seen as vital in countering the threat posed by armed groups and restoring stability in the country. The need for a clear mandate and effective strategy for the mission, as well as efforts to address systemic issues contributing to instability in Haiti, are critical in ensuring the success of the foreign intervention. The international community’s support and collaboration, alongside the commitment of countries like Kenya and the US, are key in addressing the multifaceted challenges facing Haiti and working towards a more secure and stable future for the nation and its people.

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