US Pushing for Notorious, Violent Kenyan Police to Intervene in Haiti

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“The US wants Kenya to lead a force in Haiti with 1,000 police. Watchdogs say they’ll export abuse,” the AP Headline reads. The US knows that the Kenyan police are notorious for violence against innocents, including torture and murder.

They sound nice.

The US is getting Americans involved in yet another civil war, this time in Haiti. The goal is to get Kenyan Police to lead a multinational force in Haiti, even though Kenyan police officers are known for their violent abuses. It doesn’t matter to the US since 1,000 Kenyan officers might head to Haiti to take on gang warfare. The US wants it.

The Kenyan police force is long accused by rights watchdogs of killings and torture, including gunning down civilians during Kenya’s COVID-19 curfew.

One local group confirmed that officers fatally shot more than 30 people in July, all in Kenya’s poorest neighborhoods, during opposition-called protests over the rising cost of living.

“We are saddened by the loss of life and concerned by high levels of violence, including the use of live rounds” during those protests, the U.S. said in a joint statement with 11 other nations in mid-July.

Now the U.S., as this month’s president of the U.N. Security Council, is preparing to put forward a resolution to authorize a mission in Haiti led by Kenyan police,  with no experience and don’t speak French, who are to be the alleged peacekeepers.

The UN couldn’t get anyone else.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday praised Kenya for simply considering serving. [Of course, Blinken would.]

Some organizations that have long tracked alleged police misconduct in Kenya are worried.

“We had some consultations with Kenyan (civil society organizations) last week, and there was general consensus that Kenya should not be seen to be exporting its abusive police to other parts of the world,” Otsieno Namwaya, Kenya researcher with Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press.

Not everyone is worried.

“I have no knowledge of any complaints raised by the U.N. during those deployments [they’ve been in Sierra Leone and similar places], hence no concern on my end,” the executive director of the watchdog Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Peter Kiama, told the AP. “Remember, the major challenges regarding policing practices in Kenya include political interference with police command and independence, inadequate political will to reform the institution, culture of internal impunity and criminality, and inadequate internal and external accountability.”

The Kenyan National Assembly isn’t happy.

The kind of brutality that has been meted out on innocent and unarmed civilians in the last couple of months has been unprecedented,” minority leader Opiyo Wandayi said. “Those youth that you are killing require jobs, not bullets.”

Kenya’s leading opposition party has threatened to gather evidence to submit to the International Criminal Court.

In response, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said police have remained “neutral, impartial, and professional.” The ministry referred questions about alleged abuses to the police, who haven’t responded.

Ruto, elected president a year ago, at first praised police for their conduct during the protests but later warned officers against extrajudicial killings as a public outcry grew.

This is who we are. These are our US values.

Emphasis added


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