Kenya Fails To Reach Deal Over UK Army Training In Laikipia

Talks between Kenya and United Kingdom over training of British military personnel in Laikipia have stalled, after the countries failed to agree on three issues.

Some of the vehicles used by the British Army Training Unit of Kenya based in Nanyuki. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohammed on Wednesday told Parliament that they were yet to agree on whether British soldiers who commit crimes while in the country would be prosecuted in local courts.

Other issues are opening up of British military bases for inspection by Kenyans and ceding resources to the people of Maralal and Nanyuki where the UK soldiers conduct training.

Kenya had threatened to tear up its military co-operation deal with the United Kingdom, which has run 40 years, and is currently valued at about £58 million (Sh7.9 billion) a year, up from about Sh2.5 billion three years ago.

The pact was extended by six months to October after the initial deal expired to allow for the talks.

“We want British soldiers who kill to be tried here,” Ms Mohammed told the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“They have a facility in Kenya where not even the president or the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces is allowed into. Many of their containers come in and they have refused to allow us to inspect them,” she said.

The pact allows up to 10,000 British troops a year to carry out military exercises in Kenya’s harsh terrain before they are deployed to active operations such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The deal also includes training of the Kenya Defence Forces.

Kenya also wants more of its troops to be trained in the UK, up from the current two yearly.

British troops who commit crimes in Kenya while training are seen to fall under the jurisdiction of UK military law. Kenya wants them to be tried locally.

In 2013, Sergeant George Madison shot and killed Tilam Leresh, an armed herdsman, during a live fire exercise in Lolkanjau, Samburu, outside the designated military training grounds.

He was confined to barracks for seven months while a diplomatic battle raged over where he should be tried before being removed from the country.

– Business Daily

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