Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Feminism, Gender Violence

30 years of British troops raping in Kenya

The story that British troops have routinely raped Kenyan women for over 30 years originally broke I believe, in  2003.  Kenya’s Daily Nation Weekend edition of 22nd August 2003 reported  the story as follows.   Every year about 3,000 British soldiers are deployed to Kenya for training.  The training takes place on land belonging to the Mukogodo Massai community and it is here that many   women and young girls were attacked whilst going about their daily chores, collecting water and herding cattle. 

Evidence was initially gathered from police and hospital reports and the many mixed-race children born to the women.   

About a hundred women have documentary evidence — like police reports and hospital treatment records. Forty of them have mixed race children," the London-based lawyer, Day, who is representing the women, said. The rapes are alleged to have been committed between 1968 and 2000.

And the physical features of the mixed race children reflect the composition of British troops who come to Kenya — the Gurkhas from Nepal, with their oriental features, and the British caucasian features.

According to reports from various sources not only were the soldiers routinely raping women but both the British and Kenyan authorities were aware of what was taking place.  In at least one incident the Kenyan police acted to protect the British soldiers

The reaction of the police, too, was rather puzzling. On November 28, 1999, it was reported at the Ngare Ngiro police station that Gurkhas (Nepalese soldiers serving in Her Majesty’s army) had raided Lekinji Village in Laikipia and raped nine women. There was no attempt at investigation. Instead, the police responded by dispatching armed officers to create a buffer zone between the village and the training area.

London’s Guardian of September 27th 2003  reported that  investigators from the British Military  police claimed all the Kenyan police reports were fake.  Martyn Day, lawyer for some of the women, whilst agreeing that some of the police reports were forgeries said that the evidence still proved the rapes took place.

"If there are forged documents not only outside police stations, but inside them also, that’s a worry. But the key question remains, are these women telling the truth? And to answer that you have to look at all the surrounding evidence. I’m absolutely convinced that the majority of these women are telling the truth."

The guardian report goes on to say that  the troops based in the town of Nanyuki are "encouraged to interact with the local population"  and that they have built a number of schools and bridges in the area.   The area we are told is also a

"magnet for prostitutes from "across impoversihed central Kenya.  Typically, they charge as little as £3 for sex, often gambling on the prospect of striking up a lucrative longterm friendship with a British soldier.  Mixed race children are a common feature of the area."

I think you can see where this is going? The inference here is that the women are actually prostitutes who are trying to cash in by claiming to have been raped.  The report continues with  how the local inhabitants of Nanyuki, "the Kikuyu, Kenya’s biggest tribe"  who faught the British during the fight for independence, were nevertheless "pro-British" and in fact

recently demonstrated against what it considered to be many fictitious rape allegations against the British army, which have seen the soldiers confined to barracks, unable to spend money

So we don’t have to take the word of the British soldiers or government as even the Kenya’s "biggest tribe" do not believe the women.  Hows that for a bit of imperialistic divisiveness.  Poor African women deviously trying to wangle money out of the British Empire – is this what we are supposed to believe?  Another example of Black people being portrayed as being devious especially when it comes to women and sex. 

The Samburu women have now taken their case to the UN.  The women who attended  the Beijing+10 Conference said they would "invoke the Optional Protocol to seek justice if the Kenya and British governments failed to address their grievances."   The Kenyans were part of a 60 strong delegation which called on all governments to address the issue of violence against women.

Other reports on the case – Refusing to Kill Women Against Rape Guardian March 03 Global Women Strike

 

7 Comments

  1. Arrrghhh, They did a little interview on TV with a sargent or something like that who was grinning the whole time,whilst saying..
    ‘I don’t know any soldier who would want to approach these women’. as if they were nothing or dirty to touch, they also showed a prostitute fully dressed up on her way to work, saying the prostitute didn’t mind and their were plenty like her around.. all this from the BBC. I was appalled.

    I mean there are plenty of prostitutes on the streets of London, I don’t see why and how that prevents rapes from happening.
    When did Rape stop being about power and control?

  2. Monjo

    In the UK Courts of every 100 claimed rapes against a man, only 5 are found to be the truth. A similar percentage here would mean most of the claims are false. I believe it is 800 claimed cases – the MoD reckons no more than 30 are genuine.
    Obviously, even 1 rape is 1 too many – but soldiers are normally the vilest, most aggressive and worst of all men. That’s why British soldiers are the best soldiers, but they’re often awful people.

    Martyn Day is a solicitor, so he’s out to make money. The women are possibly bulldozered into making accusations, when there’s a mass claim with no evidence, the bet tactic is to get as many claimants as possible. Just think of the way the tobacco trials were done in the US, the only winners were lawyers. All the millions of claimaints basically got nothing.

  3. Where do you come up with these statistics? Are you seriously trying to say that 95% of rape victims are liars? Even if this were true which I dont for one minute believe and I base that on my own experience of working with victims of male violence, that does not mean that the women in Kenya are liars. Whether the MOD believe only 30 of the cases are genunine is neither here nor there. It is not a case of belief but of evidence. Are you also implying that being a solicitor is another word for being out to make money? This is not a tobacco case it is a case of women being raped by British soldiers. I suspect that like many others you are making a value judgement here based on the nationality, race and status of the victims ie they are Black, Kenyan and poor and of course they are women.

  4. oh lady, you got it right on Monjo.
    Yeah the women were coerced into saying the British Soldiers raped them. yeah 770 women were coerced all for the money.
    Forget the stigma associated to being a raped where no one else really wants you..
    yeah these women just want money.
    I’d address Monjo directly, but I would rather not address bullshit.

  5. From the treatise and the reaction of the Kenyan Government, one gets the impression that either some rapes are official and must be cordoned as such or that the Kenyan women are of no material value! One proven case of a Kenyan soldier raping a British citizen is certainly going to call down the skies!

  6. Christ, this is disgusting. Just FYI, since I’m bloody awful at trackbacks, I’m linking to this.

    And um, monjo, either the soldiers are vile and agressive rapists and the women aren’t lying, or they aren’t vile and agressive, and the women were pressured into lying. How one solicitor can pressure hundreds of women into lying is beyond me, especially when you’ve got guys with guns who’d like you to keep your mouth shut.

    Also, those “stats” you gave left out one important piece of information–those five percent claims found to be the truth were proven in a court of law. It doesn’t mean the women in the other cases were lying; it meant there wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction (not unsual in sexual assault cases). Telling how you make that logical leap.

  7. Frankyica

    I have no real expert knowledge on these rape cases but knowing what the British did in my own country of Ireland it is not surprising to hear of the bastard soldiers occuping and raping in other nations. I know that in Ireland the British soldiers got away with murder and rape (still do), which is not surprising considering they are backed by their own occupying governement and a legal system where the Army investigates themselves and the missing of evidence, the false statements, the death threats and a no-cooperation policy with a public enquiry makes a great effort for any victim to find justice.

    I want to send out my deepest sympathy and support for the victims of British violence.
    I can hardly believe these atrocities have gone on aslong as they have and it is heartbreaking to see the no-one being brought to justice.
    Struggle on till u seek justice for every victim, every crime must be brought out.

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