(AFP) — Kenya said Thursday it would not be sending its police to Haiti unless the United Nations-backed multinational mission was fully funded by the world body’s member states.
Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said the overall budget for the one-year deployment aimed at restoring calm in the gang-plagued Caribbean nation was $600 million, pending a final review.
“The resources for this mission will be arranged or mobilised among the member states of the United Nations,” Kindiki told a parliamentary committee.
“Unless all resources are mobilised and availed, our troops will not leave the country.”
The UN Security Council gave the go-ahead in early October for the Kenya-led mission to help the overwhelmed Haitian police battle rampant gang violence.
Kenya has said it is ready to provide up to 1,000 personnel, and Kindiki said 11 countries have committed to the mission, without naming them.
“We are not sending an occupation force, we are sending a force to support the already existing structures in that country based on their request,” he added.
A Kenyan court has issued an order barring the government from sending any police until it rules on a petition challenging the deployment.
The Nairobi High Court is considering a case brought by opposition politician Ekuru Aukot, who argued the mission was unconstitutional as it was not backed by any law or treaty.
Kindiki said preparations would continue despite the court challenge.
The High Court is due to hold another hearing on the case on November 16, while Kenya’s parliament is also yet to approve the deployment as required by law.
Kenya’s involvement has been criticised at home, with many questioning the wisdom of such a risky mission.
Haiti, the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation, has been in turmoil for years, with armed gangs taking over parts of the country and unleashing brutal violence, and the economy and public health system is also in tatters.