Kenya Launches Public Hearings into Allegations Against British Troops

Tue May 28 2024
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NAIROBI, Kenya: Kenya is set to commence public hearings on Tuesday to investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuses of power by British troops stationed in the country.

The British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) plays a significant economic role in the town of Nanyuki, but soldiers stationed there have faced accusations ranging from mistreatment to murder.

One of the most notable cases dates back to 2012 when the body of a young Kenyan mother, Agnes Wanjiru, was discovered in a septic tank in Nanyuki, where she was last seen with a British soldier. Despite the family’s lawsuit, progress has been slow, with hearings repeatedly delayed. However, the case is scheduled for July 10, as reported by local media.

Kenya’s parliament recently announced plans for four public hearings, including one in Nanyuki, to investigate allegations against British troops. These hearings, scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, will probe various human rights violations, including mistreatment, torture, unlawful detention, and killings, along with ethical breaches such as corruption and abuse of power.

The jurisdictional dispute between London and Nairobi regarding British soldiers breaking Kenyan law has been a point of contention. However, the British High Commission in Nairobi and BATUK have expressed intentions to cooperate with the inquiry, emphasizing the importance of the UK-Kenya defence partnership in ensuring the safety of both nations.

High Commissioner Neil Wigan’s meeting with Wanjiru’s family underscored the UK’s commitment to cooperating fully with the investigation into her death. The family, seeking justice for Wanjiru’s killing, has filed a lawsuit against the British army and Kenyan authorities.

Allegations of a soldier confessing to Wanjiru’s murder, as reported by Britain’s The Sunday Times in 2021, prompted a reopened inquiry by Kenyan police. Despite ongoing investigations, no public results have been disclosed, highlighting the need for transparency and accountability in addressing these serious allegations.

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