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Labour has demanded an investigation into claims of a cover-up of the killing of a Kenyan woman. Photo PA

 

The Government should investigate any possible “cover-up” relating to the murder of a Kenyan woman whose body was found in a septic tank close to a British army base, a Labour MP has said.

The body of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru was found at the Lions Court Hotel in the town of Nanyuki two months after she disappeared in March 2012.

The town is close to the Batuk (British Army Training Unit Kenya) camp.

An initial inquiry was unsuccessful, but a fresh investigation has been launched after an inquest delayed until 2019 found Ms Wanjiru was unlawfully killed, the Sunday Times reported last month.

This weekend, the newspaper reports that a soldier accused of the murder has been named by his comrades.

According to the Sunday Times, the soldier allegedly confessed to the killing, and another soldier reported it to senior officers at the time – but no action was taken.

A post-mortem examination found Ms Wanjiru died as a result of stab wounds to her chest and abdomen.

There was also evidence she had been beaten, although due to the condition of her body it was unclear whether she had been sexually assaulted.

Witnesses told the Sunday Times that Ms Wanjiru, a sex worker, was last seen leaving the hotel’s bar with a British soldier.

Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “The details of this young Kenyan woman’s death are dreadful, yet there’s still no action from defence ministers on reports of grave failings by the British military exposed in this case.

“There’s been no MoD-led investigation of the soldiers involved and no inquiry into why the MoD failed to respond when Kenyan detectives asked for help.

“Nine years on, justice must now be done for Agnes and her family.

“The Defence Secretary must take this more seriously. He should pledge the fullest co-operation to Kenyan detectives and launch an inquiry into any possible cover-up from commanding officers, military police or the MoD.

“When our forces serve overseas they stand up for British values and these allegations, if proven, would profoundly betray those values.

“This is another case that raises serious questions about the way crimes are reported, investigated and prosecuted in the military.

“The failure of military justice undermines our relationships with allies and the bonds between those who serve with dedication in our armed forces.”

Tweeting about the Sunday Times story, Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “This is brilliant reporting and a tragic tale which I will be pressing the Defence Secretary for answers about.

“Her name was Agnes Wanjiru and we owe her a debt.”

Ms Phillips added: “I have actually stayed in this Hotel I believe while in Kenya meeting sexually exploited women and men.”

An investigation into Ms Wanjiru’s death stalled when a request by Kenyan police in June 2012 to the British Royal Military Police (RMP) that nine soldiers be questioned apparently went missing.

Detectives are said to have asked the RMP to put 13 questions to the soldiers, including whether any of them had sex with Ms Wanjiru on the night she disappeared.

A photo of the victim was included in the request, as well as a request for DNA samples to be taken from the nine men.

The Sunday Times is reporting that the man who allegedly admitted to the killing was not among the nine men.

An MoD spokesperson said: “In 2012, Special Investigation Branch carried out initial enquiries in Kenya, including providing information about British personnel to the Kenyan Police. No further requests were received at that time.

“Following the conclusion of a Kenyan inquest in 2019, we are aware that the Kenyan authorities are looking into this incident.

“The jurisdiction for this investigation rests with the Kenyan Police, and we are currently in discussions with the Kenyan authorities to determine what support is needed.

“Due to this being subject to an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.” - PA/Evening Standard

 

Oct 23 (Reuters) - At least two people were dead after a bomb blast in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, Uganda Police chief political commissar Asan Kasingye Tweeted on Saturday.

The cause of the blast was not immediately apparent and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Ugandan officials did not immediately respond to requests for details or comment.

At least seven people were injured in the blast which occurred in Komamboga, a suburb in the northern outskirts of the capital Kampala, local station NTV reported. Videos shared on social media showed panicked and confused revellers illuminated by blue police lights.

Bomb blasts in the East African country are rare. Kampala suffered a major attack by Somalia's al Shabaab in 2010 that left dozens killed. The group said it had attacked Uganda as a punishment for its deployment of troops in Somalia. - Reuters

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Writing by Ayenat Mersie; Editing by David Gregorio

Josephine Ekiru addresses morans at Daaba, Isiolo County, after staying in the wilderness for three days in pursuit of stolen cattle. [Bruno Mutunga, Standard]

A Kenyan woman has won a US award on peacekeeping following her efforts to reduce conflict in pastoralist communities in northern Kenya.

Josephine Ekiru was selected as this year’s winner of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) Women Building Peace Award for her substantial and practical contribution to building peace. 

“I never knew that one day I will be recognised. All my peace efforts were for future generations. I always desired to have my community and our neighbours co-exist in peace instead of causing pain to each other,” said Ms Ekiru, 34.

The award winner was declared by US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard during a virtual ceremony on October 20.

 

Josephine Ekiru (centre) at Kalama Conservancy. [Courtesy]

The award recognises the vital role of individual women who are working every day in pursuit of peace in fragile or conflict-affected countries or regions.

Ekiru expressed her gratitude, noting that her efforts to convene meetings with women, youth and elders have paid off. 

“This award is a call to women, youth and men to embrace peace and do what is right. The award gives us all, and especially women, an inspiration to not only champion for peace but to be decision-makers in our homes and communities while raising children,” she said.

According to Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT), a conservation organisation that works with peacekeeping ambassadors in Northern Kenya through community conservancies, Ekiru’s efforts to nurture peace in northern Kenya are milestones in mitigating and resolving conflicts in the fragile ecosystem while developing resilience in communities through her community conservation model.

“Effective and strategic community peacebuilding is built on a foundation of inclusive community consultations. Our relationship with community conservancies creates a neutral platform to bring people together for dialogue, offering alternative dispute resolution to violence,” said NRT’s Executive Officer Tom Lalampaa.

Josephine Ekiru was declared a winner by US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard during a virtual ceremony on October 20. [James Wanzala, Standard]

Lalampaa said NRT’s Member Community Conservancies witnessed the positive impact that the peace ambassadors achieved by convening 109 meetings with an attendance of over 10,000 participants in 2020. 

“Today there are 80 peace ambassadors across the landscape with 25 of whom are women being led by Ekiru," he said. 

“Ms Ekiru is a heroine. Her work to build peace in northern Kenya is a model for all of us,” said Nancy Lindborg, the honorary chair of the Women Building Peace Council. By Jacinta Mutura, The Standard

 

Police are investigating an incident in which a 17-year-old student at Gathiruini Boys secondary school in Kiambu county, was lynched by girls from a neighbouring school in an attack.

Brian Mbage, a Form 4 student, had together with five others sneaked out of their school, and crept into a girls dormitory at Komothai Girls' secondary school, at around 4am Thursday.

Police and other witnesses say the boys went into Phoeb House hosting almost 50 female students for an unknown mission. 

The boys were spotted by some girls who immediately raised alarm, attracting the attention of the whole school.

The school’s guards, teachers and students all rushed towards the dormitory to find out what was happening.

This prompted the other five boys to escape and managed to trace their way back to their school while the deceased was cornered by the angry students and staff and beaten before he was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to the injuries.

Police say the victim sustained serious injuries.

Crime scene detectives later visited the scene and recovered planks of wood suspected to have been used to assault the suspect.

The body of the student was taken to a local mortuary ahead of planned postmortem.

This will form part of ongoing investigations, police said.

But even as police probe the matter, Mbage's mother Mary Mbage, has dismissed the mob attack story after viewing her son's body at the Kiambu Level 5 hospital.

She says the school management gave her a different account of events that led to her son's death.

"They told me that he jumped from the fourth floor and sustained injuries," she said.

"I have seen the body of my son and I'm so saddened. The injuries do not show signs of beating but the ones on his head show he died from trauma."

She described her son as hardworking, disciplined and jovial.

Police have cautioned members of the public to desist from taking the law into their hands and accord suspects the opportunity to face justice in a court of law.

Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti termed mob lynching criminal saying, “Those caught over the same will be prosecuted.”

Cases of lynching of suspects have been on the rise in various parts of the country amid campaigns to discourage the trend.

The latest incident happened in Kisii last week where four elderly people were lynched over claims of witchcraft.

Four suspects have since been arrested over the incident.

A group of human rights organisations have condemned the trend and asked authorities to address the same. - CYRUS OMBATI, The Star

Additional information from TV47

Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, holds talks with Ugandan parliament speaker Jacob Oulanyah via video link at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 21, 2021. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

China's top legislator Li Zhanshu held talks on Thursday with Ugandan parliament speaker Jacob Oulanyah via video link, calling for a closer relationship between the two countries.

Li, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said China stands ready to work with Uganda to implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two states, take the opportunity of the upcoming session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to strengthen unity and coordination, and jointly address challenges to further benefit the two peoples.

Li made three proposals on the development of bilateral relations.

Calling on the two countries to continue enhancing political mutual support, Li said China stands ready to work with Uganda to jointly uphold true multilateralism and safeguard the interests of the two countries and the developing countries.

On deepening practical cooperation, Li said China welcomes Uganda to positively implement the Global Development Initiative, calling on the two countries to enhance cooperation on infrastructure and manufacturing.

On COVID-19 response, Li said China is committed to the pledge of making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good and promoting a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines.

Li said the NPC stands ready to work with the Ugandan parliament to promote greater development of bilateral relations.

He called on the two sides to enhance legislative exchanges on investment, tax and industrial parks, and to share experiences on poverty alleviation and rural vitalization.

For his part, Oulanyah expressed gratitude for the Chinese people's aid and support, and said that the Ugandan parliament is willing to enhance exchanges with the NPC to promote bilateral relations and enhance cooperation in various fields. China Daily

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