At least 3,400 Haiti citizens have been killed, kidnapped and injured in the four months since plans to deploy 1,000 Kenyan police officers to restore normalcy in the Caribbean nation were floated in October last year.
An investigation by Miami Herald, a US-based media outlet, published on Monday showed that January 2024 was the most violent month on record with over 1,100 lives affected.
The data also showed that at least one individual is killed every two hours and 17 left nursing injuries every day.
Reports indicate that the gangs’ influence has continued to grow and members are brazenly holding travellers hostage and setting homes ablaze.
A collage of Kenyan Police on the streets (left) and Haitian police during a protest (right)
DANIEL OGENDO/RICHARD PIERRIN
They are also, reportedly, blocking voluntary workers from delivering food aid to thousands who starve.
“The already dire human rights situation has deteriorated even further, amid unrelenting and expanding gang violence, with disastrous consequences for Haitians,” the outlet quoted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.
“Every day that passes, more casualties are being recorded.”
President William Ruto had in October offered to deploy 1,000 police officers from Kenya to lead a multi-agency team in tackling the gangs that had taken over 80 per cent of the country.
Ruto’s efforts were, however, curtailed by numerous court rulings that termed the deployment unconstitutional.
The latest court ruling by Justice Chacha Mwita delivered last month indicated that the National Security Council and the National Police Service (NPS) have no powers to deploy the officers outside the country.
“To be clear, Article 240 does not mandate the Council to deploy police officers outside Kenya. Deployment should be as provided for in part 14 of the Act and only to a reciprocating country,” he directed.
Reacting to the ruling, Ruto insisted that he would push forward with the mission despite suffering setbacks in court.
The President argued that Haiti had asked for help and that a bilateral agreement was already in the works to pave the way for the mission. Kenya hence reiterated its commitment to leading other countries in fighting deadly Haitian gangs.
Last week, the UN Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, revealed that the UN would support any multinational force that will be formed to address the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
The spokesperson revealed that as the crisis in Haiti worsens, a force urgently needs to be deployed.
An armed gang in Haiti.