𝗗𝗘𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗔𝗟 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗜𝗧𝗧𝗘𝗘 𝗢𝗡 𝗗𝗘𝗙𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗘 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗘𝗜𝗩𝗘𝗦 𝗠𝗘𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗔𝗡𝗗𝗔 𝗔𝗛𝗘𝗔𝗗 𝗢𝗙 𝗜𝗡𝗤𝗨𝗜𝗥𝗬 𝗜𝗡𝗧𝗢 𝗕𝗔𝗧𝗨𝗞
𝗪𝗲𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗙𝗲𝗯𝗿𝘂𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝟮𝟭, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟰
Six memoranda have been submitted to the National Assembly about an upcoming inquiry into the activities of the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK).
The memoranda were received by the Clerk of the National Assembly on behalf of the Departmental Committee on Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee which is conducting the inquiry.
The Committee, chaired by Hon. Nelson Koech (Belgut), had put out a notice calling for written memoranda through the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly last year after Members resolved to inquire into alleged human rights violations by BATUK.
Concerns had emerged during the Committee’s deliberations and subsequent debate of a Report on ratification of the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Kenya and the United Kingdom.
Among the memoranda received is one from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) regarding reported killings, alleged sexual violence and exploitation, arbitrary arrests and infringement on Community land.
KNHCR said it had received concerns about "the intimidation of human rights defenders who follow up on alleged violations by the BATUK including arbitrary arrests to deter them from pursuing justice for the victims."
The County Government of Laikipia has also requested the Committee to revisit and find out the status of investigations into the 2012 murder of Kenyan woman Ms. Agnes Wanjiru allegedly by British soldiers and the Lolldiaga Hills Conservancy fire incident in 2021.
Linguistics and Languages lecturer, Dr. Mwaniki Isaiah Ndung'u has requested the Committee to investigate the extent to which the BATUK operations are inconsistent and incompatible with the principles, philosophy and sanctity of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
He also asked that the Committee investigate the environmental impacts related to the degradation of training grounds, and natural resources as well as noise pollution as a result of BATUK activities.
Those who wrote to the National Assembly in support of the presence in Kenya and the defence of the British Troops were the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, the Kenya Support Staff (Locally engaged civilians) in BATUK, and a boda boda representative. The three said the presence of the troops in Kenya has created employment and spurred the growth of the areas where they operate.
Hon. Koech directed that the Committee would first proceed on a ground-out-finding mission within BATUK operational areas before inviting the stakeholders and persons of interest to the inquiry.
"This will be very important so that during the inquiry we will go deeper beyond these memoranda that have been submitted," said Hon. Koech.
The Committee will meet stakeholders from the Ministries of Defence and tf Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, the Office of the Attorney General, UK Embassy in Kenya among others.