Kenya family's anger over UK army 'cover-up' of woman’s murder

2021-10-27 13:10:31
Kenya family's anger over UK army 'cover-up' of woman’s murder

The family of Agnes Wanjiru, a Kenyan woman killed by a British soldier in 2012, have spoken about their anger and despair that no-one has yet been convicted of her murder.

The 21-year-old left behind a five-month old daughter, who is now being cared for by her sister Rose Wanyua in the town of Nanyuki, 200km (125 miles) north of the capital, Nairobi.

Wanyua sobbed as she revealed how new report of her sister’s death had raked up painful memories.

She and her husband John Muchiri told the BBC the family had given up any hope of finding justice for Wanjiru, who they knew as Ciru.

"If it was Ciru who had killed that white person, by now I wouldn't even know where she is jailed," Wanyua said.

"But whoever killed her went free and is living his life. I am raising her child alone, no-one has asked about their well-being, not even the government."

'We can't afford lawyers'

Wanjiru was last seen by witnesses on the night of 31 March 2012. Her body was later discovered behind a hotel room where UK soldiers had stayed, with missing body parts and a stabbing injury.

Her body was found in a septic tank at a hotel in central Kenya nearly three months after she had spent an evening partying with soldiers.

Kenyan judge Njeri Thuku concluded after an inquest in 2019 that Wanjiru had been murdered by one or two British soldiers. She ordered two further criminal inquiries, but the UK military took no action.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is under pressure to launch an investigation into the cover-up of the murder.

Since Kenya gained independence in 1963, the British army has maintained a permanent garrison on the outskirts of Nanyuki.

Crimes committed by UK troops have caused tension over their long presence in Nanyuki.

In March, a fire broke out at a BATUK training area and spread uncontrollably, burning for days and consuming around 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares).

In 2002, Britain's defence ministry paid millions in compensation to 233 people who said they had been injured by unexploded British ordnance in the area.

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