Five in Batuk pollution case arrested in Nanyuki

Some of the vehicles used by the British Army Training Unit of Kenya based in Nanyuki. [Courtesy]

Five people have been arrested in Nanyuki for allegedly soliciting funds from the Lolldaiga community embroiled in a court battle with the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk).

Police in Nanyuki confirmed holding John Kiunjuri, Gabrielle Ngata, Duncan Waithaka, Lucy Wambui and Gathoni Murage.

Laikipia County Police Commander Mr John Nyoike said: “It is true the five were arrested, but this is an issue we are still investigating, so I can’t give more details. But if we find them to have committed any criminal act, we will charge them in court. If not, they will be released,” he said.

Lawyer Kelvin Kubai, appearing for the Lolldaiga community in the pollution case, however read malice in the arrest of the five.

“The arrest of the five is apparent intimidation intended to defeat justice and silence the outcry for justice. We shall however not be silenced by any kind of intimidation,” he said.

According to the lawyer, those arrested were working with scientists in conducting an environmental and socioeconomic report on the Lolldaiga fire incident that happened in March 2021. The report is to be presented to the Kenya-UK Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee for arbitration as directed by a court ruling in March.

More than 1,400 residents from Lolldaiga community had petitioned the conservancy and the British army soldiers.

They wanted the two to be held responsible for the fire incident that happened in March 2021, and burnt more than 12,000 acres of the 49,000 acres conservancy. Locals claim the fire incident triggered an environmental disaster.