The Canadian government said Sunday it had deployed military aircraft over Haiti to deal with what it called an “extreme security situation” and to support efforts to disrupt Haitian gang activities.
Canada explained in a statement that it supports the Haitian National Police and deployed a Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft in response to Haiti’s request for support, as violence continues to escalate in the country.
Haitian gangs have expanded their territory since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The resulting violence has left much of the country off-limits to the government and has led to routine shootouts with police.
Haiti is expected to be on the agenda for US President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada next month.
The Canadian patrol plane will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to strengthen efforts to establish and maintain peace, and will remain in the region “for several days,” according to the Canadian government.
In October, the UN suggested sending a “rapid action force” to Haiti to combat the escalation of violence by armed gangs, whose territorial fights have left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.
However, many have expressed skepticism, citing abuses from previous missions and questioning whether a force would back the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, which has been without democratically elected representatives since early January.
Most countries have been reluctant to send troops, although nearby Jamaica said it would be willing to participate and El Salvador offered “technical assistance.”
About seven in 10 Haitians support the proposal to create an international force to help the national police combat violence by armed gangs, according to a survey conducted in January.
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