Connect Gujarat

Haiti: US flies forces in to beef up security at embassy, evacuates staff

The aircraft flew to the embassy compound, the US Southern Command said, meaning that the effort involved helicopters

Haiti: US flies forces in to beef up security at embassy, evacuates staff

The US military said Sunday that it had flown forces in to beef up security at the US Embassy in Haiti and allow nonessential personnel to leave.

The aircraft flew to the embassy compound, the US Southern Command said, meaning that the effort involved helicopters.

It was careful to point out that no Haitians were on board the military aircraft.

That seemed aimed at quashing any speculation that senior government officials might be leaving as the gang attacks in Haiti worsen.

The neighbourhood around the embassy in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is largely controlled by gangs.

This airlift of personnel into and out of the Embassy is consistent with our standard practice for Embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft, according to the Southcom statement.

In many cases, nonessential personnel can include the families of diplomats, but the embassy had already ordered departure for nonessential staff and all family members in July.

The personnel ferried out of the embassy may have simply been rotating out, to be refreshed by new staff.

The statement Sunday said that the United States remains focused on aiding Haitian police and arranging some kind of UN-authorized security deployment. But those efforts have been unsuccessful so far.

Haiti's embattled prime minister, Ariel Henry, traveled recently to Kenya to push for the UN-backed deployment of a police force from the East African country to fight the gangs. But a Kenyan court ruled in January that such a deployment would be unconstitutional.

On Saturday, the office of Dominican President Luis Abinader issued a statement saying that Henry is not welcome in the Dominican Republic for safety reasons.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, has closed its land border.

Given the current situation, the presence of the Haitian prime minister in the Dominican Republic is not considered appropriate, according to the statement, adding that this decision reflects the firm position of the Dominican government to safeguard its national security and stability.

The statement described the security situation in Haiti as totally unsustainable and said that it poses a direct threat to the safety and stability of the Dominican Republic.

The statement predicted the situation could deteriorate even further if a peacekeeping force is not implemented urgently to restore order.

Caribbean leaders have called for an emergency meeting Monday in Jamaica on what they called Haiti's dire situation.

They have invited the United States, France, Canada, the United Nations and Brazil to the meeting.

Members of the Caricom regional trade bloc have been trying for months to get political actors in Haiti to agree to form an umbrella transitional unity government.

Caricom has also pushed Henry to announce a power-sharing, consensus government in the meantime, but the prime minister has yet to do so even as Haitian opposition parties and civil society groups are demanding his resignation.

Henry, a neurosurgeon, was appointed as Haiti's prime.

In Port-au-Prince, meanwhile, police and palace guards worked Saturday to retake some streets in the capital after gangs launched major attacks on at least three police stations.

Guards from the National Palace accompanied by an armored truck tried to set up a security perimeter around one of the three downtown stations after police fought off an attack by gangs late Friday.

Next Story