NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
When the campaign for freedom was launched in Kenya over sixty years ago few would have thought that it would have a sequel in the British courts which would see the British governments forced to apologise and compensate victims for mistreatment.
Initially the United Kingdom government said it would vigorously oppose cases for compensation brought by former members of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau) over horrendous mistreatment suffered at the hands of British security forces.
Now the UK government case has effectively collapsed and compensation believed to total £14 million is to be paid together with an apology.
Kenya was the defining post (WW 2) war national liberation struggle. It involved great brutality on both sides but the scale of British security force oppression was always played down. Even in the post independent Kenya it seemed the case of the Mau Mau veterans would be forgotten.
However in recent years academic research opened the world’s eyes to the scale of the violent and depraved way in which the United Kingdom suppressed the revolt.
Some estimates say over 100, 000 Kikuyu died, over 70,000 were detained and suffered in some instances the most bestial of violence and most shameful of all 1000 Kenya prisoners were hanged after sham trials.
Now the case will be settled (albeit too late for many veterans who have died) but the issue will not rest here.
Many other colonies underwent similar armed struggles and the legacy of security forces violence has still to be resolved.
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J B Moffatt (Mr)
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