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Kenya, Britain expand military deal to include external threat

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale at the DoD, Nairobi, on October 31, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenya and Britain have resolved to strengthen their military partnership.

The agreement shows the British Army will expand its operations to include security and defence policy.

"The draft agreement expands the potential areas of operation to include security and defence policy, peacetime military activities, environmental protection, military sports, military medicine, research, and development," reads the agreement signed by Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale.

The deal, to be tabled in Parliament for approval, comes after the previous one expired in October last year. The old agreement limited the Kenya Defence Forces to cooperate with the UK forces primarily in defence industry, training support and exchange of military students.

The last Parliament had threatened to shoot down the agreement unless the British soldiers involved in the murder of Agnes Wanjiru in Nanyuki were brought to justice.

The mother, whose body was found in a septic tank, is said to have died in the hands of troops from the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk).

The new agreement establishes an inter-governmental liaison committee, which will comprise representatives of the two countries. They will have power to settle all disputes and misunderstandings arising from implementation.

The deal also subjects visiting forces to Kenyan laws, but grants authorities of the visiting troops' primary jurisdiction to prosecute offences arising out of official duty in the country.

"Contemporary security challenges such as terrorism, organised crime and human and drug trafficking are transitional and necessitate collaboration and cooperation between states. The proposed agreement will provide a framework for collaboration between the republics of Kenya and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to address contemporary security challenges," said Mr Duale.

The pact enhances bilateral cooperation on defence by identifying a framework for exchanging experience and knowledge.