Home Human Rights Kenyan Women Accuse British Soldiers Of Decades Of Rape, Sexual Violence And Abandonment
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Kenyan Women Accuse British Soldiers Of Decades Of Rape, Sexual Violence And Abandonment

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Kenyan Women British Soldiers Rape
Source: CNN

Kenyan women have accused soldiers from the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) of rape, sexual violence, and abandoning their mixed-race children without facing any consequences. These women claim they have no support from the UK or Kenyan governments.

The allegations against BATUK span decades. Kenyan communities near British training grounds have reported numerous cases of abuse, exploitation, and sexual assault. Despite these reports, many women have seen no justice.

Lydia Juma, a Kenyan woman, who died two years after an exclusive interview with CNN without ever finding the man she says raped her, was among those who came forward with such allegations.

Before her demise, Juma had recounted how she was raped by a British soldier, resulting in the birth of her mixed-race daughter, Marian.

There was also Agnes Wanjiru, a 21-year-old Kenyan woman, who disappeared in 2012 after being seen with British soldiers. Her body was later found in a septic tank, and despite a Kenyan inquest ruling her death as murder, no charges have been brought against the identified suspect.

A British High Commission spokesperson asserted that all allegations are taken seriously and thorough investigations are conducted. However, many Kenyan women, including those who claim British soldiers raped them in the 1970s and 80s, continue to await justice and compensation.

In 2007, after investigating their military, the British Ministry of Defence concluded and dismissed claims brought by over 2,000 women, stating that “there was no reliable evidence to support any single allegation.”

Women like Ntoyie Lenkanan and Saitet Noltwalal, both in their 70s, still recount their traumatic experiences and the long wait for acknowledgement and compensation. Some women testified before Kenya’s Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission, but the government lost the case files mysteriously without explanation.

The 2021 defence pact between the UK and Kenya allows for British soldiers to be sued in Kenyan courts for wrongdoing, potentially offering a path to justice for the victims. According to CNN reports, Lawyer Kelvin Kubai is working to reintroduce the case in Kenyan courts, representing over 300 women. At the same time, 17-year-old Marian, daughter of the late Juma, will be the lead plaintiff.

“It is traumatic and psychologically disturbing to people like Marian and many others who continue to see the British training amidst them with all these unresolved trauma and historical injustices,” Kubai told CNN after meeting some of the pastoralist women who allege wrongdoing by the soldiers.

“We can win because we have a very progressive constitution. The Kenyan legal system offers a better redress than what is available in the UK,” he said.

Also, women who had consensual relationships with the soldiers and bore their children have struggled for recognition and support. Generica Namoru, who had a daughter with a British soldier, claims he has never supported their child. Despite providing his details for the birth certificate, Namoru has not received any assistance from the soldier or the government involved.

The British High Commission in Nairobi stated it cooperates with local authorities in paternity claims. Still, many children, like Marian, born to British soldiers, have not received the parental care they deserve.

Human Rights Commission official Marian Mutugi emphasised that these children deserve British citizenship and support from their fathers.

“It’s not like these kids are looking for a free ticket to the UK. We’re just saying that they deserve parental care from their fathers, which every child deserves,” Mutugi said, claiming that the British government had shown no interest in resolving the cases.

“These children deserve British citizenship. They’re British kids. Their fathers were British!” she emphasised.

Efforts to seek justice and support continue, with a crowdfunding campaign to help these children with education and legal fees. However, the lack of action from the UK and Kenyan governments remains a significant barrier for these women and their children.

 

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