BATUK Soldier Killed in Kenya, UK Defense Ministry Reveals
16:06 03.12.2023 (Updated: 17:04 03.12.2023)
© Photo The official website of the UK Ministry of DefenseMajor Kevin McCool
© Photo The official website of the UK Ministry of Defense
Established in 1964, the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) is a permanent training base located 200 kilometers north of the Kenyan capital. BATUK has a bad reputation among Kenyans: soldiers have been accused of rape and murder, and civilians have been maimed by ammunition.
One of the soldiers from the British Army Training Unit in Kenya, died in Kenya off-duty, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
"It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defense must confirm the death of Major Kevin McCool who has died while off-duty in Kenya on 29 November 2023," the MoD statement said.
32-year-old Major Kevin McCool was traveling on a motorcycle outside the BATUK base when he was attacked, UK media reported.
McCool served in Europe, the Middle East, the Falkland Islands and Africa, the ministry noted.
The MoD said that the major excelled in the military environment and took many of the most challenging military courses. The ministry also highlighted his human qualities.
"His enthusiasm was infectious. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye, that made him tremendous fun to be with. Yet his professionalism and sense of purpose was paramount, and clear to all those lucky enough to serve with him," the statement noted.
UK Defense Secretary, Grant Shapps called his death a "tragic loss."
The BATUK contingent in Kenya consists of approximately 100 permanent staff and a replenishing cohort of 280 short-term personnel.
The mission provides sophisticated training for exercising units preparing to deploy to operations or high readiness missions, according to the British Army website.
However, the unit is seen to be responsible for numerous serious atrocities that have sparked public condemnation in Kenya.
One high-profile case was the brutal murder of a 21-year-old Kenyan woman, Agnes Wanjiru, allegedly commited by British soldiers. The lifeless body of Wanjiru, the mother of a two-year-old daughter, was found in a septic tank in Nanyuki in 2012. She was last seen alive with a British soldier. In 2021, one of the soldiers in the unit allegedly confessed to the murder to his comrades, but no one has since been prosecuted for the crime.
Moreover, BATUK has also been accused of killing and injuring people and livestock with unexploded bombs during soldier training exercises in reserves and communities.
The allegations also relate to damage caused during the unit's military exercise in 2021. During the exercise, a devastating fire broke out in the Loldaiga region of the state, destroying more than 4,800 hectares of land and injuring local residents.
The local community filed a lawsuit against BATUK after the fire. A Kenyan court ordered the British Army to pay compensation, but on October 20, residents of central Kenya said they had received nothing.