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Haiti is considering begging foreign police forces for help dealing with its out-of-control security situation and rising gang violence, Al Jazeera reported.
On Friday, Haitian Foreign Minister Jean Victor Geneus made a plea for international police support during an Organization of American States (OAS) summit in Peru. Geneus warned that criminals are wielding power through control of a fuel terminal, causing “great havoc.”
Violence in Haiti’s capital has skyrocketed in recent months as gangs battle to control key neighborhoods and roads. The country has also been plagued by natural disasters and political instability following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July last year.
Haitians have also taken to the streets to protest the situation and shortages. Many have demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, whose interim government indefinitely delayed last year’s elections because of rising political instability.
Meanwhile, the US and international organizations have expressed concern for the country’s plight and pledged commitment to restoring Haiti’s security.
Questions remain, however, as to who would lead the international force and whether the United Nations would participate. Still, many Haitians are not very supportive of foreign forces in the country, partly because of past experiences with UN peacekeepers.
The international body previously sent peacekeepers in 2004 and 2017 to strengthen and stabilize government institutions. But their mandate was not renewed following a series of accusations of sexual abuse and a 2010 cholera outbreak that killed nearly 10,000 people.
The outbreak was related to a sewage leak from a UN peacekeeping base, resulting in condemnation and popular distrust of the organization.
In 2016, the UN apologized for its part in the outbreak.