Decades of Concern: An Inquiry Into the UK’s Military Presence in Kenya
An inquiry is currently being held in Nairobi, Kenya, to delve into the United Kingdom’s military presence in the African nation.
This investigation has been sparked following revelations of multiple incidents involving unexploded ordnance from UK army exercises that have caused harm to Kenyan civilians.
Reports dating as far back as 1985 have surfaced, indicating concerns raised by a Kenyan officer over the British army’s lax handling of ammunition and explosives.
The officer’s concern was prompted by an incident where a Kenyan mechanic, Jaffer Mohamed, was tragically killed by British ordnance in Nanyuki, a garrison town where UK troops maintain a training camp.
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The British military took two decades to publicly admit that over a thousand Kenyan citizens had been harmed by its unexploded ordnance. The current inquiry, led by Members of Parliament, aims to investigate these incidents and allegations of abuses by the British Army Training Unit in Kenya.
The Tragic Incident and Its Aftermath
The incident involving Jaffer Mohamed occurred when the British army gave the garage he worked at a vehicle used for artillery practice. Unaware of the potential danger, Jaffer was in the process of dismantling the car when an unexploded ordnance caused a fatal explosion.
While the British army acknowledged its responsibility for the incident, it remains unclear whether Jaffer’s family ever received compensation.
The ongoing inquiry is expected to shed light on the extent of the problem and may potentially provide a path to justice for the victims’ families. However, some fear that the passage of time may hinder their ability to claim compensation or discuss the incidents.
The Need for Systematic Clearance
The significant amount of unexploded ordnance in central Kenyan army ranges is a cause for concern. The need for systematic clearance is apparent to prevent further harm to civilians. The inquiry serves as a critical step in addressing this past negligence and preventing future incidents.
Members of Parliament leading the inquiry have promised a thorough investigation, vowing to get to the bottom of the issue, no matter how far back the incidents date.
This inquiry could potentially have implications for the future role of UK troops in Kenya, and the outcome could bring about changes in the handling of ordnance by foreign troops in the country. It marks a significant move towards accountability, justice, and the prevention of future harm to Kenyan citizens.
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