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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
UK pay-out for Kenya bomb victims
Masai tribeswomen
The Masai say the Army left bombs on grazing lands
The UK Government has struck a deal with lawyers representing 228 Kenyan tribespeople bereaved or maimed by British Army explosives left on their land.


The money won't give me my hands or my feet but can help me

Beatrice Lelekong, victim
Britain's Ministry of Defence agreed to pay more than $7m (4.5m) plus costs, following two days of talks in London aimed at settling the case without going to court.

Hundreds of Masai and Samburu tribespeople - many of them children - are said to have been killed or maimed by unexploded bombs left by the British army at practice ranges in central Kenya over the past 50 years.

In paying the money, the Ministry of Defence accepted limited liability.

Welcome help

John Ole Keshine, who chairs the Masai community organisation Osiligi, said the settlement was "fair and appropriate".

A Kenyan amputee stands outside the Houses of Parliament in London
Hundreds have been maimed or killed
"People have been injured or maimed," he told BBC News Online. "They require the type of help that was awarded today."

Mr Ole Keshine said the victims included a farmer with just one arm, who will now be able to afford assistance to work his land.

Beatrice Lelekong, who lost both her hands and feet in an explosion, also expressed satisfaction.

"The money won't give me my hands or my feet but can help me," she said.

"I'll use the money to educate my kids, to help myself, to build a house, even to buy some animals."

Clearing up

Individual claimants will receive sums in relation to the level of injuries, with the most serious hurt likely to receive about $400,000 (250,000).

Corporal Phil Johnys inspects an exploded 105mm shell, Samburu district, 2000
The British say they were very careful
The tribespeople launched their compensation claim with the High Court in London last year.

They accused the UK Ministry of Defence of failing to clear their training grounds in Kenya with the same attention as they reserve for their other foreign training grounds in Cyprus and Canada.

But the ministry disputed this.

"The British army are very careful, when they train anywhere, to make sure that they clean up everything that they use," a spokesman said.

The ministry has argued throughout that the Kenyan Government was ultimately responsible for clearing up the practice grounds

However, the ministry in April agreed to enter into mediation in an attempt to settle the action.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Paul Adams reports
"A year ago the government said they had no case"
Beatrice Lelekon on BBC Focus On Africa
"The money won't give me my hands or feet but it can help"
See also:

18 Jul 02 | UK
04 May 01 | Africa
23 Mar 01 | Africa
06 Feb 01 | Country profiles
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