Noor Gabow.
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The men who will lead Kenya’s police in Haiti security mission

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Motorcyclists ride by burning tyres during a police demonstration after a gang attack on a police station which left six officers dead, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 26, 2023. (inset) Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow.

Photo credit: File

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Gabow is being considered to head the Kenyan peacekeeping mission to Haiti, the Nation has established.

And a commander from either the Administration Police Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) or General Service Unit (GSU) is likely to lead the Kenyan boots on the ground in the war-torn Caribbean nation.

The GSU has reportedly recommended Mr John Chebii, a senior superintendent of police at GSU headquarters, among those to be considered to command the Kenyan contingent in Haiti.

The 1,000 police officers who will be travelling to Haiti as part of a multinational force to quell gang violence are being picked from the three crack units — ASTU, GSU and RDU.

Those enlisted must, however, be 40 years and below.

Some 400 police officers who have so far been trained for the Haiti mission have been asked to prepare for deployment anytime soon.

The plan is to have the officers leave the country in two groups of 200 police officers.

Inspector-General of Police Japheth Koome, National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Noordin Haji and Mr Gabow have been tasked by President Ruto to oversee preparations leading up to the deployment of Kenyan police officers.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure and the President’s adviser on National Security Monica Juma are also trusted with this high-level assignment that has the backing of the UN Security Council.

High-profile role

Sources familiar with the planning of the deployment told Nation Mr Gabow has a high-profile role in the preparations and is also likely to lead the Kenyan mission.

Mr Gabow’s past experience in international peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Rwanda has reportedly seen him tapped for the role.

He was part of the advance team of Kenyan police officers who had just returned from Haiti where they had gone to assess preparations for the deployment of the multinational force.

The inspection revealed that the bases had not yet been completed, among other delayed resources, prompting the postponement of the deployment, which has since been announced by the President.

Mr Gabow, according to sources, returned to the country on Monday after a week-long visit to the Caribbean nation.

While in Haiti, he is understood to have held a series of meetings with Haiti police chiefs. This was the third visit by Mr Gabow to Haiti as the team fine-tunes the logistics.

The UN Security Council approved the deployment of a multinational mission to support Haiti in October 2023.  The UN resolution also designated Kenya as mission leader.

Sources said the police boss has been tasked by President Ruto to regularly brief him on the situation in Haiti.

Last week, the President insisted that Kenyan police officers would be deployed to Haiti despite criticism by some local leaders who are opposed to the deployment.

During his latest visit, Mr Gabow led the Kenyan government in reaching a deal that will see 2,000 police officers from Haiti trained in Nairobi.

Intensive training regimen

The Haiti police will be taken through an intensive training regimen at the AP Training School in Embakasi that will focus on, among other things, law enforcement and combat.

However, the dates when the Haiti police will arrive in the country for their joint training with Kenyan officers is yet to be decided.

The joint training is aimed at building synergy between the two groups.

“We want our officers to interact with the Haiti policemen who they will be working together in the island nation,” said an official familiar with the preparations.

While in Haiti, Mr Gabow and the police chiefs agreed that among the things that will be fixed ahead of the deployment are the police barracks where the Kenyan police officers will be operating from.

The weapons of choice and other logistics, including transport and food supplies for the police officers, are among the other issues addressed during the visit.

On Tuesday, Nation asked Mr Koome about preparations for the deployment, including the commanders who are being tapped to lead the Kenyan contingent.

Mr Koome said he was yet to get a brief from a team that he had dispatched to Haiti and that he would get back once he receives the information.