A small advance team from Kenya was in Port-au-Prince on Monday to prepare for the long-awaited arrival of the first contingent of elite police officers from the East African nation to help Haiti combat criminal armed gangs as part of an armed international force.

The Kenyans departed Nairobi Monday evening and could arrive in Port-au-Prince as soon as Tuesday, multiple sources told the Miami Herald. But they warned that the timing could change given security concerns in the troubled country.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller confirmed that the first contingent of the Multinational Security Support mission is expected to arrive sometime this week.

“This is just the first of several milestones in the process to restore security and prosperity in Haiti,” Miller said during a daily press briefing in Washington on Monday. “With the arrival of MSS mission personnel, we hope to see further measurable improvements in security, particularly with respect to access to humanitarian aid and core economic activity. This will help create the security conditions conducive for future, free and fair elections.”

Haiti hasn’t had general elections since 2016, and nearly half of the country is facing hunger as a result of the ongoing gang violence which has uprooted nearly 580,000 Haitians over the last three years, according to the United Nations.

In a post on X, showing the Kenyans on the aircraft, Raymond Omollo, a senior interior ministry official, wished the first contingent to Haiti “safety and success.” He then provided photos of the police in camouflage and white helmets, and him later greeting them as they sat on an aircraft. read more