Kenya investigating UK army ‘misconduct' – Guardian
Kenya’s government has reportedly begun an investigation into the operations of the British Army Training Unit (BATUK), whose soldiers have been accused of murder and of abuse, as well as inflicting environmental and property damage.
Nairobi’s parliamentary defense committee will invite the public to submit petitions on any alleged crimes committed by UK soldiers, the Guardian and local outlets reported. Inquiries are set to begin in October into alleged ethical breaches, human-rights violations, and the operational integrity of BATUK personnel.
BATUK, one of the UK’s largest military training centers abroad, is facing numerous allegations of wrongdoing in the East African country, with its activities being blamed for causing damage to land near its base in Nanyuki, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of Nairobi.
The forces using the center are also accused of murdering a woman, 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru, in Nanyuki, the town in Laikipia County where the UK army’s permanent garrison is located, in 2012.
Wanjiru’s mutilated body was discovered in a septic tank at a hotel in Nanyuki, weeks after she’d spent the night partying with British troops.
A Kenyan inquiry in 2019 concluded that British soldiers were responsible for her death and ordered additional investigations. To date, no charges have been brought forward by prosecutors.
Kenya and its former colonizer have a defense cooperation agreement in place that allows the British army to operate in Nairobi. The Kenya-UK Defence Cooperation Agreement was ratified in April, following a wave of protests from communities near the army base and renewed anger over Wanjiru’s unsolved case, sparked by reports of a British soldier having confessed to her murder.
The defense committee of the East African country reportedly expects the results of its findings will be submitted to parliament by the end of the year.
Claims that the British military uses dangerous chemicals during training exercises, allegations of sexual abuse, and the case of Wanjiru’s murder will all be examined.
Earlier, Anthony Theuri Wambui, Deputy Speaker of Laikipia County Assembly, told RT that he agrees with the government’s decision to investigate the soldiers’ actions. According to the official, British army officers murdered Wanjiru, and her family is still seeking justice after more than a decade.
Kenyan lawyer Kelvin Kubai told the Guardian that the investigation is a “significant” move as it’s the “first time that British army activities are being reviewed in this way” since Nairobi gained independence from the UK in 1963.