kenyan court blocks deployment of police force to haiti

A contingent of 1,000 Kenyan officers was intended to lead a multinational force financed by the United States to restore security in a Caribbean country terrorized by armed gangs.

A Kenyan court on Friday prohibited the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti, jeopardizing a multinational security force charged with stabilizing the chaos-hit Caribbean island nation before it even got off the ground.

The force, which is backed by the United Nations and financed by the United States, had been stalled since October, when Kenyan opponents of the mission challenged it in court, calling it unconstitutional. The High Court upheld those arguments on Friday, throwing into doubt the latest international effort to rescue an impoverished country that is spiraling ever deeper into violence and instability.

“An order is hereby issued prohibiting the deployment of police officers to Haiti or any other country,” Justice Chacha Mwita said at the conclusion of a judgment that took over 40 minutes to read.

The international force was meant to help break the grip of the armed gangs that control most of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and that have turned Haiti into one of the world’s most dangerous nations. Haiti’s government has pleaded for foreign military forces to be sent in to restore order, but the United States and Canada have been unwilling to commit their own troops.

Kenya agreed last summer to lead the mission, with backing from Washington, which pledged $200 million. The force was intended to eventually increase to 3,000 security officers.

But just a handful of Caribbean nations have stepped forward to contribute troops, and the court order on Friday threw the mission even further into doubt. The Kenyan government is expected to appeal the decision.

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