Five countries pledge personnel for Haiti security mission, UN says

FILE PHOTO: Residents flee gang violence, in Port-au-Prince
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By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin and Chad have formally notified the United Nations of their intent to contribute personnel to an international force to help Haitian national police fight armed gangs, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.

Contributions of $10.8 million have also been deposited into a trust fund to support the multinational security support mission, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters, adding that further pledges of $78 million had also been made.

The United Nations Security Council authorized in October a foreign security mission to Haiti, a year after the Caribbean country asked for help to fight violent gangs that have largely overrun its capital Port-au-Prince.

The 15-member council's resolution requires countries to inform U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of their participation in the security mission. While approved by the Security Council, the mission is not a U.N. operation.

The response to Haiti's request for help was delayed due to a struggle to find a country willing to lead a security assistance mission. Kenya stepped forward last year with a pledge of 1,000 police, but a local court later barred the move as unconstitutional. Kenyan President William Ruto has said the plan will go ahead, however it has not yet notified Guterres.

Dujarric said Benin has said it plans to send about 1,500 personnel. It was not immediately clear how many personnel the remaining four countries have pledged.

Separately, the United Nations said some 5.5 million people in Haiti - half the population - need humanitarian assistance and it is appealing for $674 million in 2024. Last year the U.N. only received a third of the money it requested, said U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti Ulrika Richardson.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)