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Wanjiru murder: Britain pledges to cooperate with investigators

By Standard Team | Nov 3rd 2021 | 2 min read

British Minister to the Armed Forces James Heappey addresses the media at the British Army Training Unit in Kenya headquarters in Nanyuki. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The UK government has promised to fully cooperate with investigators probing the death of Agnes Wanjiru who was allegedly killed by a British soldier in 2012.

UK Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey yesterday said Wanjiru’s murder and the subsequent cover-up were embarrassing and had soiled the image of the UK.

Wanjiru was allegedly killed in a rave with Batuk soldiers at Lion Court Inn in Nanyuki in 2012.

Heappey addressed the media at the Nyati Barracks, which is the main base of the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk) in Nanyuki.

He said British army commanders in overseas territories are under instructions not to protect any rogue soldiers who commit offences in the host countries.

But the minister said he would not commit to the extradition of the two soldiers being investigated over the incident.

Instead, Britain would ensure that the negotiations would be heard with an aim of protecting Wanjiru’s family and giving them closure after nine years.

Heappey, however, admitted that he had not been able to meet Wanjiru’s family due to a “busy schedule”.

And he also could not say why there was grumbling that nobody in Nanyuki knew the local representatives the High Commissioner had met in his session.

“That had been arranged by Batuk and I believe they had taken every step to have a good representation of the local community,” said Heappey, describing the session as robust.

His press conference at the Batuk Common Mess took place one hour late as the meeting with the local community extended.

A minister in the UK system is a relatively junior position in the political hierarchy, similar to CAS under the Kenyan system or assistant minister in the old system.

Heappey is among a cluster of ministers working under Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, a former Royal Armed Forces officer. Earlier, a demonstration that had been planned to greet the minister at the Batuk gate was ‘infiltrated’, forcing the organisers to call it off.

One of the organisers of the demonstration said they cancelled it when a few demonstrators unfurled banners condemning the Laikipia County government, which has supported them.

A Batuk officer described as “absolute bonkers” claims that local county government had not been consulted on the representatives that the minister was to meet.

Wanjiru was 21 at the time she was murdered and her body dumped in a septic tank at the Lion Court Inn in Nanyuki town.

[Reporting by Wainaina Ndung'u, Ndung'u Gachane, Kennedy Gachuhi and Bradley Sikolia] 

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