British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) Accussed Over Use of Dangerous Chemicals in the country.
The British government has replied to concerns expressed about the British Army’s use of white phosphorus, a chemical that is hazardous to humans, in Kenya.
This came after East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskill asked the government for clarity on its usage by the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK).
On Wednesday, April 27, Britain’s Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, acknowledged that officers use the chemical but insisted that it was solely used for illumination in a response to the UK parliament.
“The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) have used white phosphorus mortar rounds on training exercises, where conditions have permitted their use.
“White phosphorus mortar rounds are used to provide white light illumination for training at night, as well as for smoke screening purposes,” read the statement in part.
Additionally, BATUK released a statement further stating that the chemical is only used in designated areas in their training camp in Samburu County.
“The UK does not use white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon. In Kenya, it is only used at the Archer’s Post Training Area, and only when conditions allow it,” read the statement in part.
While white phosphorus has not been declared prohibited worldwide, usage is restricted due to health concerns, as shards of the chemical cause skin burning.
White phosphorous is mostly employed in the military during drills and operations to obscure the movement of troops from enemy eyes.
In recent months, BATUK has come under fire for the actions of a few of its soldiers.
In 2021, reports of Agnes Wanjiru’s death sparked a global outcry, prompting Kenya and the United Kingdom to initiate an investigation into the alleged incident in 2012.
Heappey was compelled to travel to Kenya as a result of the controversy. The public has yet to see a report on the decisive investigations.