Canada Sends Military Plane to Haiti to Assist With Rampant Gang Violence
Canada has dispatched a military plane to Haiti to assist the national police in dealing with the escalating violence from gangs which have virtually taken over the Caribbean nation.
In a joint statement issued between Canadian National Defence Minister Anita Anand and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Canada has deployed a CP-140 Aurora aircraft to assist in "disrupting gang activities" in Haiti.
Since last summer, gang violence has become a reality for those living in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince, with hundreds reportedly kidnapped and killed, and the police outgunned and often rumored to be on the take. As CBS News reported, in just one week in January, at least ten police officers were killed and the United Nations estimates that 60 percent of Port-au-Prince is controlled by the gangs.
According to the UN, gangs are also limiting access to necessities such as health care and water, as well as allegedly sexually assaulting women and children as young as ten to spread terror in the people they want to rule over.
The political and humanitarian crisis in Haiti has prompted calls for Western countries to intervene, and the Canadian government has stated that the aircraft deployment is in direct response to Haiti's request for assistance. Haiti’s been appealing for aid for some time.
The Miami Herald has been covering the crisis and reported last October that Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry issued a formal request for the deployment of a specialized international force to assist the Haitian police in confronting the gangs. The request was supported by the UN secretary-general. The United States agreed that some force could be useful, but pointed out they did not want to lead such an effort, preferring that Canada do so.
The patrol aircraft is currently in Haiti and will remain there "for a number of days" to assist with surveillance and intelligence efforts. The aircraft deployment is the most recent step taken by the government to assist Haiti and is not part of any military intervention. Other forms of assistance have included sanctioning individuals it believes are responsible for the violence in throughout the nation.