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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
UK says Kenya rape reports 'fake'

Andrew Harding
BBC, Nairobi

A forensic examination of police records in Kenya has concluded that all known reports of alleged rape by British army soldiers are forgeries.

Margareth, one of the alleged victims
More than 600 women got UK legal aid to pursue the case

This is a major development in the rape cases.

For several months now British military police have been investigating allegations that over 600 local women were raped by British soldiers on exercise in Kenya mainly in the 1980s and 1990s.

That investigation has focused on contemporaneous Kenyan police records, many of which appeared to back up some of the women's claims.

A source close to the investigation has confirmed that forensic experts were recently brought in to examine the documents which stretch back to the early 1970s.

'The truth'

Now a spokesman for the British High Commission in Nairobi has announced that no genuine entries have been found in any of the police records.

Martyn Day [l] and a Masai man[r]
Lawyer Martyn Day says rape claims were previously ignored

All are believed to be forgeries.

Martyn Day, the British lawyer representing the women, said he would not be surprised if there were many forgeries.

But he said he would be amazed if they all proved to be fake.

"We want to get to the truth," said Mr Day.

It is not clear yet what will happen now to the British investigation.

Although the documents would be crucial in any court case, the British military police have also been taking statements from more than 30 of the women.

British soldiers use the rough terrain around Mount Kenya for training exercises.

A year ago the Ministry of Defence agreed to pay 4.5m to victims of unexploded ordinance.

Lawyer Martyn Day
"The whole question here is trying to get at the truth"

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