Africa

Family of slain Kenyan woman sues UK army to demand answers

Rose Wanyua Wanjiku, elder sister to Agnes Wanjiru, 20, who was allegedly killed by a British soldier in 2012, holds photographs of Agnes, at Rose’s house in the Majengo informal settlement in Nanyuki, Kenya Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Police in Kenya have said they are reopening the case of a Kenyan woman Agnes Wanjiru allegedly killed by a British soldier in 2012. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

The family of a young Kenyan mother allegedly murdered by a British soldier almost a decade ago is planning to sue the army to demand answers over her death, their lawyers said on Wednesday.

The body of Agnes Wanjiru, 21, was found in 2012 after she reportedly went out partying with British soldiers at a hotel in the central town of Nanyuki, where the UK army has a permanent garrison.

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported last month that a soldier confessed to killing Wanjiru and showed comrades where he dumped her body in a septic tank behind the hotel.

The revelations have galvanised fresh calls for an investigation and justice for Wanjiru, and Kenyan police last week announced they were reopening the case.

“We are instructed by the family of Agnes to challenge the Ministry of Defence’s failure to investigate her alleged murder in 2012,” Tessa Gregory, a partner at law firm Leigh Day which is handling the case, said in a statement to the AFP news agency.

“Our client desperately wants justice for Agnes but also wants answers as to what the British Army knew and why it is that over the last nine years the Ministry of Defence appear to have done nothing to address the known allegations Agnes was brutally murdered at the hands of a British soldier.”

Wanjiru was last seen one evening in March 2012 with a British soldier from the military base and her body was found about two months later.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott last month expressed “outrage and concern” over Wanjiru’s death and promised high-level support to a Kenyan investigation into her murder.

Since Kenya gained independence in 1963, thousands of British infantrymen have passed through a training camp on the outskirts of Nanyuki known as BATUK for exercises in harsh terrain.

While their presence has bolstered the local economy, there have been controversies and allegations of offences in the past.

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