Africa

Kenya reopens case into murdered woman seen with British soldier

Kenyan police on Monday announced they were reopening a case into the 2012 murder of a young mother last seen with a British soldier from a nearby military base.

Agnes Wanjiru, 21, was reportedly partying with soldiers one evening nine years ago at a hotel in the central Kenyan town of Nanyuki, where the British army has a permanent garrison.

The young mother disappeared and was later found dead in a septic tank behind the hotel.

The Sunday Times reported last month that a British soldier confessed to killing Wanjiru and showed comrades where he dumped her body, and the crime was reported but dismissed by military officials.

The revelations have galvanised fresh calls for an investigation and justice for Wanjiru.

“I have directed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to reopen the case and compile all the available evidence and witness accounts and ensure the case is concluded before a court of law,” Kenyan police chief Hilary Mutyambai said on Twitter.

“I am also urging the UK government to collaborate with us to conclude the case and administer justice.”

The British defence ministry said it always worked in partnership with Kenyan police and its assistance would be forthcoming where needed.

The ministry said on Twitter: “The UK stands ready to support all requests as we have done since day one.”

Earlier, it said that contrary to reports it had only received a request for DNA samples from Kenyan authorities in late October and it was complying.

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.

Marriott said initial inquiries were made in 2012 by a special UK investigative branch and details about British personnel were submitted to Kenyan authorities when requested.

After an inquest in 2019, Kenyan authorities began looking into the murder again.

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 and difficult terrain.

While their presence has bolstered the local economy, there have been controversies and allegations of serious crimes and other misdemeanours in the past.

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