Ashes of empire: Britain’s burning injustice in Kenya

Two years ago, British soldiers were cooking on an army exercise in Kenya when things suddenly spiralled out of control. Sparks from their small stove ignited the grass at Lolldaiga, on the foothills of Mount Kenya.  This might have been a minor incident, had the area not been so dry. Unfortunately, these were “tinderbox” conditions, […]

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Unexploded bombs: The British army’s deadly legacy in Kenya

In 2015, a teenage boy stumbled across a strange metal object while playing football. Lisoka Lesasuyan, 13, had unwittingly found a mortar fuze. “It exploded in his hands,” his father Lawan tells me as we sit on the outskirts of Dol Dol, a dust swept settlement three hours drive down dirt roads from a UK […]

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Revealed: British army contributed to worker’s death in Africa

High up on a hill near Mount Kenya, Irene Kipsuge looks out over a rolling savanna. In the distance lies Lolldaiga, a safari resort where Western tourists pay up to $400 a night to stay in a colonial settler-style house, in the hope of seeing elephants. To her left is Ole Naishu, another nature reserve […]

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Still no justice for Kenyan women abused by UK troops

“I miss her so much – she was like a big sister to me,” reflects Esther Njoki, a wise 18 year old whose aunt Agnes Wanjiru was brutally murdered by a British soldier in 2012. Her body was found in a hotel septic tank months after she went missing. “There’s still no progress on extraditing […]

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Britain stole their land to plant tea. Now they want it back

Wilson Kiget’s mother Lydia was just 13 years old when she was first raped by a white farmer in Kenya. The assault came during British colonial rule in the 1930s, after the settler helped himself to the family’s fertile land.  “My mother worked on his tea plantation for ten years,” Wilson explains nervously. “She was […]

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Lisoka Lesasuyan was injured by faulty explosives. (Images: Kelvin Kubai, MOD)

Army knew explosive was faulty years before child got maimed

In 2015, Lisoka Lesasuyan was playing with his friends on the spectacular safari plains of northern Kenya when he picked up a strange metal object. It was a discovery that would change this 13-year-old boy’s life forever. In his hands was a fuze from a mortar bomb. It had failed to explode upon impact during […]

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British army’s white phosphorus habit revealed

British soldiers on training exercises in Kenya have used white phosphorus on 15 occasions since 2017, Declassified has found. White phosphorus can cause horrific burns to human skin and multiple organ failure, with Russia facing criticism from the UK for allegedly firing it in Ukraine this April. The British army claims its own use of […]

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Kibore Cheruiyot Ngasura, left, was evicted from Kericho in 1934 and deported to an island on Lake Victoria. (Photo: Tony Karumba / AFP via Getty)

Prince William petitioned by Kenyan land grab victims

A letter delivered to Prince William’s household in London today seeks justice for a notorious land grab in East Africa. It comes from a group of Kenyans whose ancestral land was stolen by British imperial forces. They are calling on the royal family to apologise and make reparations. The move follows a wave of protests […]

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Russian aircraft allegedly attack a Syrian village with white phosphorus in 2016. (Photo: Anas Sabagh via Getty)

British Army admits using white phosphorus in Kenya

Defence minister James Heappey said today UK soldiers have deployed white phosphorus mortar rounds on training exercises in Kenya “where conditions have permitted their use”.  He added it provided “illumination for training at night, as well as for smoke screening purposes”. White phosphorus is not currently banned as a chemical weapon but has similar effects. […]

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Mortars fired by British troops explode in Kenya. (Photo: MOD)

British ammo almost certainly maimed Kenyan boy – new evidence

British army investigators found evidence that discarded ammunition in Kenya, which maimed a 13 year-old boy, almost certainly came from a UK training exercise. The information was not shared with the boy’s father, who accepted a reduced “no liability” payout from Britain’s defence ministry on the basis there was an equal chance the explosive was […]

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace opens the army’s new East Africa HQ with his Kenyan counterpart. Files were destroyed in the move. (Photo: FCDO)

British army destroyed files in Kenya

Britain’s army headquarters in Kenya destroyed “the majority of physical files” created before 2015, it has emerged. The Ministry of Defence made the admission in response to a freedom of information (FOI) request about live firing by troops training in Kenya. Lisoka Lesasuyan, a 13-year-old Kenyan boy, lost both arms and an eye when in […]

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Prince William visits Ol Maisor school in 2018. British troops train in the area. (Photo: Thomas Mukoya / AFP via Getty)

The sun never set: British army’s secret payments to colonial-era farms

A Kenyan judge recently ruled that the country’s courts have the authority to hear a compensation claim against the British army. The decision paves the way for nearly 1,500 Kenyans to sue UK troops for starting a huge fire near Mount Kenya last March. One man was killed while trying to fight the fire on […]

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Richard Leakey burns confiscated elephant tusks in 1991. The British army advised him on anti-poaching. (Photo: Andrew Holbrooke / Corbis via Getty. File: UK MOD)

Stakeknife and the spy who went on safari

The Kenya Wildlife Service, which operates a shoot-to-kill policy against ivory hunters, was advised by a senior British military intelligence officer intimately involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland.  Colonel Colin Parr visited Kenya between tours during the ‘Troubles’ when he allegedly ran ‘Stakeknife’ – an informant at the heart of the IRA’s internal security […]

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Murage Gitonga addressing a Justice for Lolldaiga rally (Photo: Kelvin Kubai)

Second death linked to British army blaze in Kenya’s ‘White Highlands’

An 82-year-old Kenyan man who developed breathing difficulties after exposure to a fire sparked by British troops has died. Murage Gitonga passed away on 19 November following a throat cancer diagnosis, Declassified has found.  In his youth Gitonga was a gun maker for Kenya’s Land and Freedom Army (or Mau Mau). The resistance movement fought […]

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Lisoka Lesasuyan suffered life-changing injuries (Photo: ACCPA)

Exclusive: Kenyan boy lost arms in British war game

Lisoka Lesasuyan was playing with friends in a field when suddenly his life turned upside down. A fireball blasted away his arms, gouged his right eye and scarred his chest. He was 13 years old.  The explosion happened in 2015 at Archers Post, a vast bushland near the iconic Mount Kenya. British and local troops […]

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HMS Queen Elizabeth with her escort and supply ships (Photo: USMC / Unaisi Luke)

Royal Navy’s gunboat diplomacy is fueling climate crisis

The government is refusing to reveal the carbon emissions of a new aircraft carrier on a round the world voyage. Ministers sent HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Pacific where it patrolled near Taiwan, worsening UK relations with Beijing.  The gunboat diplomacy took place weeks before crucial climate talks at which Boris Johnson wants China to […]

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British troops sparked a major fire in Kenya on 23 March 2021 (Photo: MOD)

British army ignored five fires before sparking Kenya inferno

The revelation comes days before the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is due in court to defend itself against a compensation claim being brought by 1,400 Kenyans. They blame British troops for accidentally burning down 12,000 acres (nearly 50 square kilometres) of land in central Kenya earlier this year. Declassified understands that UK government lawyers are […]

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‘Tacit approval’ for killings: UK Foreign Office and police support to Kenyan anti-terror unit ‘operating like a criminal gang’ revealed

Britain’s Foreign Office knew Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) was involved in renditions of terror suspects yet paid for its new headquarters and continues assistance programmes, along with London’s Metropolitan Police, disclosures obtained by Declassified UK show.

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Revealed: MI6 ‘misled’ two inquiries into arrest of Lee Rigby’s killer

Three intelligence officers tell Declassified UK that Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, tracked and arranged the arrest of Michael Adebolajo in Kenya, contradicting MI6’s testimony to two intelligence oversight reviews.

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British security firm Saladin tries to distance itself from police war crimes investigation

One of Britain’s oldest private security companies has admitted to UN experts that it shared an office building in west London with a group of mercenaries being investigated for alleged war crimes – but denies involvement.

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How a British policeman helped normalise torture in a Gulf monarchy

As two political prisoners face execution in Bahrain, the country’s repressive justice system remains rooted in the career of Ian Henderson – one of the most notorious police officers the British empire ever produced, who caused suffering to scores of Bahrainis including members of my family.

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The militarisation of US/Africa policy: How the CIA came to lead deadly counter-terrorism operations in Kenya

US and Kenyan diplomatic and intelligence officials tell Declassified UK why the CIA set up a covert paramilitary counter-terror team, how it flies recruits to the US for special training, and why Britain helps gather intelligence on targets. 

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Revealed: The CIA and MI6’s secret war in Kenya

A covert Kenyan paramilitary team armed and trained by the US and supported by UK intelligence is behind renditions and controversial killings of terror suspects in night-time raids, Declassified UK can reveal. 

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