Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

The most credible news source in Barbados

US military equipment arrives in Haiti

July 9, 2024

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC –  The United States has delivered various military equipment and materials to Haiti as the United Nations-sanctioned Kenyan-led Multi-national Support Mission to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country has warned the criminal gangs that “we have a job that we are committed to do”.

Kenya has offered to send about 1,000 troops to stabilise Haiti alongside personnel from several other countries, including The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and Jamaica.

The first batch of 400 Kenyan troops arrived here last month.

The United States has said it would not be sending troops to Haiti, but would be providing over US$300 million in financial assistance and up to US$60 million in equipment.

Over the last weekend, a US Air Force cargo plane arrived at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport with equipment including several MaxxPro armoured vehicles.

In addition to receiving military equipment, the officers also received various resources to facilitate their mission, including washing machines and a host of other essential items.

The Kenya Mission Commander, Godfrey Otunge, speaking on the images published on the internet, showing Kenyan police officers in front of the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince, said that the armed Kenyan police officers were part of an escort that ensured his security, as well as those of other Kenyan leaders.

“Our officers were not there to guard the embassy but as part of a meeting taking place inside. We went to discuss many issues regarding more equipment for the troops.”

He also said in his first public comment since his arrival here that the MSS has a job “we are committed to do” and that “we intend to achieve this by working closely with Haitian authorities and local and international partners dedicated to a new Haiti”.

In the nationally broadcast news conference in which he took no questions from the media on Monday, Otunge said the mission aims to “create security conditions conducive to holding free and fair elections”.

The head of the Haitian National Police, Normil Rameau, who also addressed the country on Monday, said the U.N.-backed mission is focused on reclaiming all areas from gang control, reinstating police presence in regions lacking authority and assisting Haitians displaced by the gangs to return home.

The leader of the coalition gang “G9 an Fanmi e Alye” Jimmy Cherisier, said his group is prepared to have a dialogue with the authorities.

Cherisier, a former police officer and spokesman for the criminal group “Living Together, which is an alliance of two of the most powerful gang coalitions in the country “Gpèp” and “G9”, appeared in a video, last weekend saying “We have decided to publicly announce that our strategy of laying down arms to facilitate national dialogue and promote peace is already written in black and white on our agenda.

“We are prepared to appoint a credible and coherent Haitian citizen in the diaspora to facilitate dialogue in order to put an end to this mafia war and facilitate the path towards peace in the country, denouncing…the political mafia and economy that is holding the country hostage,” said an impeccably dressed Cherisier, who is also known as Barbecue.

The United Nations has said that more than 2,500 people were killed or injured in the first three months of the year in Haiti and that the spike in violence has displaced more than half a million people.

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