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24 Oct, 2023 09:48

Kenyans demand compensation for fire set by British Army

African residents still haven’t received compensation for a blaze that broke out during a UK military exercise two years ago
Kenyans demand compensation for fire set by British Army

The absence of compensation for a disastrous 2021 fire that broke out during a British military exercise was denounced by local residents in central Kenya on Friday.

The British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) has been ordered by a local court to pay for the fire that engulfed more than 12,000 acres of land.

Meanwhile, every year Kenya holds a celebration on October 20 to commemorate the heroes who fought against British colonial rule. As this year marks the 60th anniversary of Kenya’s independence from the UK, British King Charles III is expected to visit the country.

He and Queen Camilla will travel to Kenya on October 31 for a four-day state visit, according to Buckingham Palace. Nairobi and Mombasa are on the itinerary of the British monarch, but they won't be stopping at Nanyuki, the town in Kenya’s Laikipia County where the BATUK is based.

The residents of Laikipia County, an administrative district in what was formerly the Kenya Rift Valley province, have expressed their strong discontent following the activities of the British Army in the region. "They do not respect us at all since we are just black people," a local told RT on Sunday.

Another local resident also claimed that "the British think they have immunity and that is why most of the cases are not being investigated."

In August, the Kenyan government initiated an investigation into claims of murder, sexual assault, and land damage caused by the British Army Training Unit Kenya. 

The case that is most famous involves the brutal murder of Agnes Wanjiru, a 21-year-old hairdresser, in 2012. Months after entering the premises with British soldiers, Wanjiru was found dead in their septic tank. Her family has yet to get any compensation.

Kenyans have urged the British to cease treating Kenya as a colonial outpost where actions can be taken with impunity, and to treat the nation and people with respect.