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Kenya’s mission to Haiti hits early roadblock

It’s been barely a week since the UN approved Kenya’s proposal to lead a police force to quash Haiti’s gangs – and the wheels are already coming off.

Kenya’s high court on Monday temporarily froze the deployment, citing a lawsuit by a local politician who says President William Ruto’s approval of the plan was unconstitutional. The government has to respond to the lawsuit this week but won’t get a full hearing until Oct. 24.

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People fleeing gang violence take shelter at a sports arena, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Reuters

The clock starts ticking on Haiti’s border

The Dominican Republic has suspended all new visas for Haitians, and threatened to close the border with its neighbor entirely by Thursday unless a dispute over water rights is resolved before then.

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Residents of the Carrefour Feuilles neighborhood gather outside a military base demanding help after they had to flee their homes when gangs took over, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in August 2023.

REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol/File Photo

The country that wants to take on Haiti’s gangs

Who on earth would want to fight the gangs of Haiti?

Kenya, for one.

In early August, the East African nation offered to lead a UN-backed policing mission to corral the gangs that have wreaked havoc on Haiti ever since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021 plunged the Caribbean nation into fresh political and economic chaos.

Several weeks later, a Kenyan security team spent several days in Port-au-Prince, meeting with local officials, UN representatives, and US diplomats to craft a peacekeeping proposal.

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Members of the Haitian National Police patrol a street amid ongoing gun battles between rival gangs.

REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

Hard Numbers: UN chief backs Kenyan cops for Haiti, US curbs Hungarians’ perks,  US debt rating cut, Iran creates hot new holiday, Trump and Biden tie it up, Rishi Sunak’s wardrobe gets pantsed

1,000: UN chief Antonio Guterres has backed a proposal by Kenya to lead a 1,000-strong police force to Haiti, where soaring gang violence has plunged the country into an acute political and humanitarian crisis (see Ian Bremmer’s Quick Take). To our knowledge it would be the first time that an African Union country leads a UN-backed policing or peacekeeping force in the Americas.

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Annie Gugliotta

Hard Numbers: Haitians back foreign troops, Turkey/Syria quake, RIP Musharraf, Israelis keep protesting, Spanish omelet pangs

69: That's the percentage of Haitians who support establishing an international force to help the police fight gangs amid a vacuum of power, according to a new survey. The UN proposed a "rapid action force" when things spiraled out of control last October, but few countries are willing to commit troops to defend a government that’s been without elected officials since early January.

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