• Thursday, 13 June 2024
Haiti gangs vow to wage war against Kenyan police force ahead of this week's deployment

Haiti gangs vow to wage war against Kenyan police force ahead of this week's deployment

Powerful gangs controlling the majority of Haiti's infrastructure have vowed to wage war against the Kenyan-led multinational police force that is set to arrive in the country this week.

According to a report by the New York Times, the police officers will confront gangs that have evolved to thwart any opposition.

In particular, the gangs have changed their tactics in their operations including the public approach to social media by showing a united front.

The reports also indicated that the gangs have set aside their territorial wars to rally together and resist the Kenyan-led mission, terming them 'invaders.'

The alliance will be based on mutual terms as the gangs seek to overcome challenges involving drug-smuggling operations.

Johnson André, better known as Izo is the leader of the 5 Segonn gang or 5 Seconds which is believed to be the largest cocaine trafficker in Haiti and will be seeking to use allies to export the product to neighbouring countries including Colombia.

The gangs will also be relying on Dimitri Herard, the head of the security unit that protected President Jovenel Moïse who was assassinated in July 2021.

Herard was roped into the controversial assassination after he was accused of ordering his security to stand down as the mercenaries stormed the president's home.

Since 2021, he has been in prison and was awaiting court sentencing before he was freed during a prison break staged by the gangs last month.

Two Western diplomats who spoke to the press indicated that Herard will be providing connections to operations including drug cartels and access to weapons used by the Gulf clan.

He will also utilise his resources from Colombia to bring in new sophisticated weapons.

According to President Gustavo Petro of Colombia, thousands of military weapons had been stolen and sold to armed groups primarily in Haiti.

Further, the gangs have deviated from relying on Haiti's business elite for funds and have since become autonomous in their operations.

"The gangs had been making their money from kidnappings and extortion and payout from politicians during elections and the business elites in between," stated William O'Neill, United Nations human rights expert.

"But the gangs are now much more autonomous and don't need the old guard's financial support. They have created a Frankenstein that is beyond anyone's control," he added.

One of the most successful gangs operating is led by Jimmy Cherizier also known as Barbecue, a former police officer who has since turned rogue and is a key part of the Vivre Ensemble coalition.

The Kenyan-led mission will seek to restore peace at a time when the transitional council seeks to form an interim government before Haiti conducts a General Election.

So far, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, and Chad have notified the United Nations of their intent to contribute their security personnel towards the mission.

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