As Kenya grapples with rising cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) has suspended its operations in the country until further notice.
BATUK Commander Colonel Paul Gilby revealed on Sunday that he had received instructions from the UK government to remove all army families back to their country on a temporary basis.
“I wanted to write and reassure that BATUK’s intention is to stay in Kenya for the long term. However, I have received direction from the UK Government to extract all army families back to the UK temporarily,” said Col Gilby.
The commander insisted that “this does not mean that the British are leaving Kenya.”
This means that all training activities in the Kenyan soil remain suspended indefinitely.
“BATUK will temporarily stop delivering training and reduce its manpower. This will only be for a short period of time until we can return to Kenya and resume normal operations. We will keep in contact with you to provide updates on the situation as we have them. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to you for your continued support, ” he added.
BATUK is a permanent training support unit based mainly in Nanyuki, 200 km north of Nairobi, but with a small element in Nairobi.
The British army base, consists of around 100 permanent staff, provides demanding training to exercising units preparing to deploy on operations or assume high-readiness tasks.
The UK government and other foreign embassies in the country have been evacuating their nationals from the country following the suspension of international flights and closure of Kenya’s airspace on Wednesday, March 25.
Some embassies made the decision to evacuate their citizens as a measure to protect their own over Kenyans reluctance to observe strict measures outlined by government to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that following the closure of Kenya’s airspace, countries wishing to evacuate their citizens will need to make special arrangements with the Foreign Affairs ministry.
On Monday, Jane Marriott, the British Diplomat and High Commissioner to Kenya thanked the Kenyan government for allowing the British nationals reunite with their families in the UK.
“Thank you @StateHouseKenya and @British_Airways for allowing families to be reunited in the UK and across the world and for stranded tourists to get home. That was the last of the agreed outbound flights for now. Stay safe, ” Ms Marriot tweeted.
Thank you @StateHouseKenya and @British_Airways for allowing families to be reunited in the UK and across the world and for stranded tourists to get home. That was the last of the agreed outbound flights for now. Stay safe. pic.twitter.com/d8e74Ab5rq
— Jane Marriott (@JaneMarriottFCO) March 29, 2020