Shipload of Bombs Arrives for UK Army Training

By Patrick Mayoyo, The Nation (Nairobi), 30 July 2003

Nairobi—A vessel carrying explosives and other military goods for British Army exercises in Kenya has been cleared in Mombasa.

The mv Dart 8's arrival at the weekend is likely to spark protests from human rights groups because of the army's past record.

The head of Press and public affairs at the British High Commission in Nairobi, Mr Mark Norton, said the stores were for the UK army training liaison staff in Kenya.

“We're about to start the military exercise season in Kenya. There are four major exercises scheduled for the coming months—two will involve joint training with the Kenyan Army,” he said.

Mr Norton said there would be a further three engineering, one medical and a number of smaller exercises, including mapping for the ministry of Lands.

He explained: “I can confirm that the stores do not include ordinance, and all of them were properly declared to the relevant authorities.”

Last week's Kenya Ports Authority advisory of vessels expected at the port indicated that mv Dart 8 would arrive with explosives and other goods.

Hundreds of Maasai and Samburu residents, some of them children, are said to have been killed or maimed by unexploded bombs left by the British Army at practice ranges in central Kenya over the past 50 years.

Last year, Britain's ministry of Defence agreed to pay more than $7 million (about Sh518 million) to hundreds of Samburus.