Haiti Gangs Will Fight Kenya Police To The Death- Ex-US Envoy

Foote alleged that Kenya was hesitant to send 1,000 of its police officers to Haiti owing to the weight of the mission.

Haiti Gangs Will Fight Kenya Police To The Death- Ex-US Envoy
A photo collage of the Haiti gang and the Kenya General Service Unit. /REUTERS.THE CONVERSATION

Former United States (US) special envoy for Haiti, Dan Foote has claimed that Haiti gangs will not underestimate Kenyan police officers set to be deployed on a security mission to the troubled Caribbean nation.

Speaking during an interview with CNN, Foote alleged that Kenya was hesitant to send 1,000 of its police officers to Haiti owing to the weight of the mission.

He further warned that Haitian gangs are well-armed and should the proposed CARICOM government be effected in the Caribbean nation, the gangs will not relent and battle the Kenyan cops even if it will mean putting their own lives on the line.

"The Haitians are well armed and if the international community imposes this CARICOM government contract, they are going to fight the Kenyans to the death," he said.

Former U.S. Special Envoy for Haiti Dan Foote. /CBS NEWS

"You see the reticence on the part of the Kenyan public to send these guys and that makes me nervous."

Foote, in further voicing his scepticism over the planned deployment, added that the planned 1,000-officer deployment falls short of what is required to liberate the Caribbean nation from marauding gangs.

According to him, every time there has been a military intervention in Haiti, at least 20,000 troops have been deployed to Port-au-Prince, even though he claimed that none of these missions achieved success.

"A thousand isn't going to cut it and while they have commitments for double or triple that, that's still not going to cut it.

"Every time there has been a military intervention in Haiti in the past 20 years, it's had a minimum of 20,000 troops or police going in there," Foote said.

The former envoy additionally suggested that Kenya's motivation to lead the security mission is largely spurred by financial incentives from the United Nations (UN) Security Council and not genuine peacekeeping efforts.  

"I believe that this is more of a cash grab by President Ruto whose country will receive a lot of money for doing this," he said.

The US government initially pledged $100 million (Ksh13 billion) to support the Kenyan-led multinational force to restore security to Haiti, further urging other nations to make similar contributions.

Foote's sentiments come amidst an announcement by President William Ruto that Kenya would initiate a reconnaissance mission to Haiti ahead of the planned deployment of 1,000 police officers, an announcement whose update is yet to be announced.

The Head of State on Thursday, March 14 noted that the team would be deployed once an interim leadership is installed in Haiti given that Prime Minister Ariel Henry recently left office.

"I further outlined our plan to deploy a reconnaissance mission as soon as a viable administration is in place, ensuring that our security personnel are adequately prepared and informed to respond effectively to the evolving situation," he stated.

It is also worth noting that the planned deployment was put on hold by the Kenyan government on March 12, with Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing'oei revealing that without a political administration in Haiti, there was no anchor on which the police deployment could rest.

The Kenyan government at the moment has to wait for a new constitutional authority to be installed before making further decisions on the deployment of officers.

President William Ruto (far right), and Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry (far left) witnessed the signing of the agreement on the deployment of 1,000 police officers to Haiti. /PHOTO