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Marine anti-terrorism unit sent to protect US Embassy in Haiti

WorldMarine anti-terrorism unit sent to protect US Embassy in Haiti

The U.S. military is sending an anti-terrorism unit to protect the country’s embassy in Haiti from a soaring wave of violence as armed gangs run amok across the island nation, sparking a regional crisis in the Caribbean.

The Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) was sent at the request of the State Department, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) announced in a Wednesday statement.

FAST will deploy to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti in the capital of Port-au-Prince, where armed gangs have taken over some neighborhoods and pose a growing threat to the public.

“U.S. Southern Command is prepared with a wide range of contingency plans to ensure the safety and security of U.S. Citizens in Haiti,” SOUTHCOM said in a statement.

SOUTHCOM also announced earlier this week that it sent in forces to secure the embassy and evacuate some personnel.

The embassy remains open and limited operations are continuing, including efforts to support Americans in the country and to secure a transition to a new presidential council after Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigned Tuesday.

The U.S. supports a new transitionary council, as does the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with in Jamaica this week along with other key officials.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the situation had become untenable under Henry, the longtime prime minister who struggled to ensure safety on the Caribbean nation following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

The Pentagon has increased its mission support in Haiti to $200 million, backing a multinational effort to restore security in the country.

That task force is expected to be led by Kenya, but the U.S. is planning to provide assistance for planning, information sharing, airlift and medical support, according to SOUTHCOM.

The transitional presidential council would be made up of Haitians who agree not to run in the next presidential election, are not sanctioned by the U.N. or charged or convicted with a crime, and who support the multinational task force.

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