Second contingent of police coming to Haiti in ‘coming weeks’: PMTue, 02 Jul 2024 22:36:35 GMT

A second contingent of the Kenya-led multinational policing mission in Haiti will arrive “in the coming weeks,” Prime Minister Garry Conille told AFP on Tuesday.”It will happen very quickly. We can already see in the coming weeks that we will have a second contingent,” Conille said in an interview in Washington, where he is meeting with White House and State Department officials.Haiti has long been rocked by gang violence, but conditions sharply worsened at the end of February when armed groups launched coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince, saying they wanted to overthrow then-prime minister Ariel Henry.The first batch of some 200 Kenyan police officers, part of a mission greenlit by the UN Security Council, arrived in June in a bid to work with Haitian police to stabilize the country, where gangs control some 80 percent of the capital.Conille declined to detail how many officers might arrive in the next wave, citing security concerns.”But I can already assure you that there is planning being done to be able to gradually strengthen the presence” of those already in Haiti, he said.Conille spoke to AFP shortly after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the mission, which Washington is providing with logistical and financial support.Unelected and unpopular, Henry stepped down amid the violence, handing power to a transitional council who tapped Conille as interim prime minister in May. He was sworn in last month.The transitional government’s job is monumental: to relieve the political, security and humanitarian crises devastating the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and to pave the way for the first elections since 2016.The violence in Port-au-Prince has affected food security and humanitarian aid access, with gangs accused of abuses including murder, rape, looting and kidnappings.