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MPs to begin probe of British soldiers conduct

 British soldiers during a thanksgiving service for Queen Elizabeth II in Nanyuki, on September 19, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations will conduct public hearings to investigate claims of human rights violations by the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk) in Samburu and Laikipia counties.

The inquiry will be conducted on three consecutive days from May 28 to May 30 at Jua Kali Centre, Kiwanja Ndege Centre and Nanyuki Social Hall (Laikipia), and Archers Post Chief’s Camp (Samburu). 

On May 28, 2024, the committee will conduct public hearings at Jua Kali Centre in Laikipia East and at Nanyuki Social Hall in Nanyuki Town. On May 29, 2024, the public hearing will be at Archers Post Chief’s Camp. The MPs will conclude the exercise on May 30, 2024, with public hearing in Doldol and Kiwanja Ndege Centre in Samburu county.

A notice by the Clerk of National Assembly indicated the committee chaired by Belgut MP Nelson Koech will investigate the alleged ethical breaches related to ethical misconduct, including corruption, fraud, discrimination, abuse of power, and other unethical behaviour.

“It will also assess Batuk’s operational integrity, especially safety protocols, compliance with legal requirements and adherence to established military standards,” reads the notice.

Investigations will focus on alleged cases of rape of women in the military training zones and the Lol Daiga Hills Conservancy fire incident which destroyed more than 7,000 acres of vegetation and killed hundreds of wildlife, among them elephants.

One of the cases likely to come up in the inquiry is the brutal murder of Agnes Wanjiru in 2012 whose body was discovered in a septic tank in a hotel in Nanyuki town, two months after she went missing.

The family of the late Wanjiru met the British High Commissioner, Neil Wigan accompanied by their lawyer Mbiyu Kamau and the chairman of the African Centre for Corrective Preventive Action James Mwangi. 

The lawyer said the family had a meeting with the Wigan who condoled with them.

“It was the first meeting and we hope what was agreed will be honoured,” said Mbiyu, a human rights lawyer based in Thika. 

Laikipia MP Jane Kagiri pleaded with the locals to come out in large numbers and present their grievances to the parliamentary committee.

“We have had a good working relationship with the soldiers since last year through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is a requirement in areas they (Batuk) train," she said.

The lawmaker said the British soldiers have been donating a year's supply of sanitary towels to her office for use by the girls in schools.


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