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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Kenyan women in rape protest

By Andrew Harding
BBC East Africa correspondent

Nairobi protest
Protesters want their education paid for

A Kenyan delegation has presented a petition on behalf of hundreds of alleged victims of rape by British soldiers.

Dozens of women in bright tribal dress stood outside the British High Commission in Nairobi singing and waving banners.

Many of them brought along mixed race children

The alleged crimes which stretch back over three decades took place in central Kenya where the British army runs training exercises.

"Look at his skin," shouted one woman.

"His father is a British soldier who raped me."

A smaller delegation took two petitions inside the High Commission.


One calls for the British government to take financial responsibility for the education of the mixed race children who are often ostracised by their communities.

The other is demanding an independent enquiry by Britain and Kenya into the alleged rapes.

A team from Britain's Royal Military Police is currently in Kenya looking in to those cases where there is some documentary evidence.

Police and hospital reports have been uncovered stretching back to the 1970s.

Martyn Day
I was as shocked as anyone by the allegations ... but it seems to me it really is a terrible chapter in British Army history
Lawyer Martyn Day on Radio 4's Today programme

But the women say they don't trust the army to investigate itself.

Today's demonstration was partly organised by the women's British lawyer, Martyn Day.

He has won legal aid from Britain to pursue a claim for compensation against the Ministry of Defence on behalf of over 600 women.

Last year Mr Day secured a $7m settlement from the MoD in connection with another case involving victims of unexploded munitions left by British troops training in the same area.

There is a general feeling here that the British have been slow to listen the complaints of these remote communities, but there is also a suspicion that some villagers are making false claims in the hope of getting a share of any future compensation money.

The BBC's Andrew Harding
"Ignored for years, these women are now making headway"

Eyewitness: Kenyan rape ordeal
14 Aug 03  |  Africa
Defending Africa's downtrodden
03 Jul 03  |  Africa
'Raped' Kenyans win legal aid
02 Jul 03  |  Africa
'Raped' Kenyans prepare case
10 Jun 03  |  Africa

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