A British soldier accused of killing a young mother in Nanyuki confessed to army comrades of the incident nine years ago. The military men reported him to officers at the time but the crime was ‘covered up’, new reports have emerged.
The incident took place at Lions Court Hotel, a facility located near an army base in Nanyuki, where British soldiers hold their training in Kenya.
Agnes Wanjiru, a sex worker, was found dead in a septic tank after partying with the troops in the hotel in 2012.
An investigation by British Paper, the Sunday Times, has revealed that army bosses had information about the incident but covered it up to protect the image of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK).
It’s alleged that the soldier stabbed the then 21-year-old Kenyan mother, who left behind a five-month-old daughter, to death before dumping her body in a hotel septic tank after a night of partying.
At the time, Wanjiru was trying to support her baby while living with her sister in a single room in the Majengo ghetto.
The body of Wanjiru was found by a maintenance worker who noticed a foul smell two months after her murder.
One of the soldiers confessed to the Sunday Times that the killer comrade showed them the body of Wanjiru on the night she died.
The paper identified Wanjiru’s killer as soldier X and the informant as soldier Y.
“He took me to the tank and lifted it up, and I looked in and I just remember seeing her in there. My heart sank. My mind just went blank. The only thing I could say to him was: ‘I’ll never forgive you for this,” soldier Y is quoted as saying.
Soldier Y, who is from the Duke of Lancaster regiment, recounted how the colleague burst into the bar where the other soldiers were partying and appeared visibly distressed, saying: ‘Help me, help me…. I’ve killed her’.
The alleged killer then escorted a group of them to the septic tank behind one of the hotel’s lodges where he opened the lid and showed Wanjiru’s body.
Soldier Y said he told ‘the proper people’ about the alleged killing.
“Everyone. All the lads, all the senior command that were there. I went to higher up, hierarchy, people that should have dealt with it. I got called a liar. They basically just said, ‘Shut up and get out,'” he said.
Five other soldiers identified the same person(killer soldier) to the paper.
Another military man identified by the paper as soldier Z said Soldier X told colleagues he had killed Wanjiru by accident during sex after choking her.
However, It later transpired that Wanjiru had been stabbed to death, and she also suffered blunt force injury to her chest and her lungs had collapsed.
Wanjiru’s body was found long after the soldiers had left Kenya.
The allegations have prompted a new murder probe by the Royal Military Police. Further, a Labour MP has called on the Government to investigate any possible cover-up.
“The Defence Secretary has been impatient with the pace of this, and has directed full cooperation. He has worked with the Military police and Kenyans to ensure their investigation is not impeded,” a military source told the Sunday Times.
Soldier Y told the Sunday Times he is prepared to go to the British police and go on the record and is even willing to go to jail himself to ensure justice is served.
An inquest held in Kenya in 2019 didn’t lead to much as a judge ruled that Wanjiru was killed by British soldiers but nothing was done by the army afterward.
Wanjiru’s family claim that Kenya and UK authorities staged a cover-up to maintain diplomatic relations.
The UK sends six infantry battalions a year for eight-week exercises at the Nanyuki army base.
This is not the first fatal incident to be reported in the base.
In March this year, the British army launched investigations into the alleged killing of five elephants including a calf in fires started by soldiers training in Nanyuki.
The fire reportedly started when troops cooking a meal on a camping stove accidentally set light to dry grass.