The British army's deadly legacy in Kenya: Declassified UK
Declassified meets Kenyans affected by British military exercises, including a boy maimed by a bomb who says he is subjected to "continuous and endless torture."
A recent report by Declassified UK narrates the story of a teenage boy who stumbled across a strange metal object while playing football in 2015. Lisoka Lesasuyan, 13, had found a mortar fuze.
“It exploded in his hands,” his father Lawan said. “After the blast, the British army came and took the debris and gave him first aid.”
Lisoka suffered severe injuries that forced him to lose both arms below the elbow. His right eye had been gouged out by shrapnel, and his chest had been burned, according to Declassified.
The British army has one of its oldest firing ranges in Kenya, known as Archers Post, where Kenyans suffer from a severe drought and dire living conditions. “The British soldiers are always training around there,” Lisoka’s father explains.
More than 50 unexploded ordnances have been found this year alone, Declassified reported.
The British army now attempts to avoid liability for claims being filed by claiming that some of the shells were fired by Kenyan troops, who now use Archers Post as well/
Declassified revealed this year that the area in question is used for firing white phosphorus, an incendiary device similar to a chemical weapon. The MOD claims that this practice is legal because it is not directed at civilians, but their stance is very different when Russia employs it in Ukraine or Syria.
“I’ve seen white coloured smoke in the sky which affects the people,” Rose recalls. “Some go blind, others get breathing difficulties or back problems with their spine. It’s from the pollution of the bombs."
“Others are having abortions,” she confides. “We have three ladies in Umoja who had miscarriages because of pollution from the bombs. It was causing pain in their stomachs and their babies died.”
According to Declassified, the British army has fired white phosphorus in this part of Kenya on 15 occasions since 2017. Paulina recalls: “When we see the bombs bursting, our people get a cough from the ground and when cattle eat the grass they might die.”
When asked by Declassified, the Ministry of Defence did not address the alleged health impact of white phosphorus. Instead, a British army spokespoerson said they “routinely use white phosphorus illuminant rounds on training exercises in the UK and overseas, where and when conditions permit their use.”
He added that they were “used to provide white light illumination for training at night. The British Army does not use white phosphorus mortar rounds as a weapon.”