Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Kenya's president commits his country to lead multinational force to Haiti on gangs

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2023 | 2:12 PM
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, meets with Kenya's President William Ruto, second left, Thursday, September 21, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, Pool)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's president has committed his country to lead a multinational force in Haiti to combat gang warfare, even as residents of both countries question the plan being pushed by Washington.

President William Ruto spoke on Wednesday at a ceremony establishing diplomatic ties with the Caribbean nation, held on the sidelines of the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders. Haiti's prime minister, Ariel Henry, attended. Henry requested the deployment of such a force a year ago.

“As the leading nation in the United Nation-backed security mission in Haiti, we are committed to deploying a specialised team to comprehensively assess the situation and formulate actionable strategies that will lead to long-term solutions,” Ruto said.

Gangs have overpowered Haitian police, with experts estimating they now control some 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince, since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Schools in some areas have closed because warring gangs are raping and killing people. The violence has displaced nearly 200,000 Haitians whose homes have been burned.

The United States has praised Kenya for even considering leading the United Nations-backed force while other countries hesitated, and the US is drafting a UN Security Council resolution authorising it.

The US has said it will provide direct financial assistance along with training, logistical and material support.

On Thursday, Ruto met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who thanked Kenya for being a strong partner on Haiti.

“We are here to have a conversation on the how, the nitty-gritty, so that we can be able to make a useful contribution,” Ruto said.

Kenya sent an assessment team to Haiti weeks ago with the idea of deploying 1,000 of its police.

Kenyan officials haven't responded to questions about the mission. Bahamas and Jamaica have offered support to the force.

Follow The Gleaner on X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at or