U.N.-approved, Kenya-led security force finally arrives in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A first contingent of 400 Kenyan police officers arrived in Haiti on Tuesday morning, more than 18 months after then-Prime Minister Ariel Henry first asked the United Nations to send a security force to restore order to this violence-racked nation.

The goal of the force: to wrest the country back from the heavily armed gangs that control more than 80 percent of the capital, inflicting some of the worst violence it has seen in decades, and to allow authorities to hold new elections for president and the National Assembly.

“You are undertaking a vital mission that transcends borders and cultures,” Kenyan President William Ruto told the officers Monday. “Your presence in Haiti will bring hope and relief to communities torn apart by violence and ravaged by disorder.”

This Caribbean nation of 12 million, beset by political corruption, gang violence, natural disasters and poverty, has suffered a long history of foreign interventions. Many have done more to destabilize the country than to restore order. Officials have pledged that this mission, which could grow to 2,500 officers, won’t repeat those errors. Critics are skeptical.

Here’s what you need to know.

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