British troops gang raped pregnant Maasai women
Kenya Confidential Correspondent – London
Deep social scars of shame inflicted upon British troops’ rape victims and blond Kenyans are the legacy of soldiers’ reign of terror with no shame of sexually assaulting seven-month pregnant women
It is becoming increasingly clear that the apology offered by the British to Kenya over its barbaric treatment of Mau Mau freedom fighters a few years ago was an exercise of pulling the wool over the dying generation of freedom fighters to cover monstrous atrocities that continued into independent Kenya.
The British troops’ barbarous behavior in post independent Kenya is captured by their own Mary Braid in a narrative she penned for the respected London newspaper, The Observer, documenting raw brutality on defenseless pastoral rural women in unprotected sexual rape orgies.
Seen against the unprecedented President Uhuru Kenyatta‘s apology to Kenyans for atrocities visited upon them by the regimes of his father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Dictator Daniel arap Moi, it thought it would be difficult to see the young Kenyan leader giving the British troops another opportunity to perpetrate their dastardly cruelty upon his citizens by extending their military training pact on Kenyan soil. However, Uhuru renewed the British training agreement early 2016 that waits Parliamentary approval.
It was an affront upon Kenyan women, indeed unpatriotic that their own president would expose them to armed undisciplined platoons of barbaric military youths to take joy in rapping and sodomising defenseless pastoral communities on their own motherland and putting them to the risk of HIV-AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, unlike before when British and Kenyan government conspired to shelter the British troops, those caught this time round will be prosecuted under Kenya laws.
Mary recounts in her blood-chilling reportage: Sitting in her shack in the Maasai village of Dol Dol, near Mount Kenya, where British Queen Elizabeth the Second ascended to the British Throne while on holiday in then Kenya colony in 1952, Elizabeth Naeki remembers how the British soldiers smelled of booze as they forced their way into her house.
‘There were six of them,’ she says. ‘It was about 7pm and they had been drinking in a nearby pub. They were big men and, once in, they offered me and my friend money for sex. When we refused, three raped my friend. The other three raped me.”
Queen Elizabeth 11 and grand children: Ascended to British Throne while on a Kenya holiday in 1952
Elizabeth continued, “They were in uniform but had no weapons. Still, we did not scream, because we were certain they would kill us. They just waited their turn, did what they wanted and left. I had never seen them before; I never saw them again. I was injured, but I never went to hospital or told anyone. It was a terrible shame to be raped and, back then, who would have listened to our story?”
Elizabeth says the rape took place when British troops training on Maasai land were building Dol Dol primary school. Erecting the building was an exercise in community relations. But according to Elizabeth and nine other Maasai women, who also claim gang rape by British soldiers, no amount of new buildings made up for the terrifying reality of the military presence.
The women cwere raped between the mid- Seventies, mid-Eighties and mid-Nineties. They say they have been silent until President Kibaki took over in 2003 because of shame and fear that their claims would bring punishment to the Maasai, then marginalised and despised even by their own Moi government eager to get British money than protect his citizens’ dignity and human rights.
Simon Ole Kaparo, a Maasai community leader, believes the women’s allegations are just the tip of the iceberg in a part of Kenya where the British Army has trained for over 50 years. His organisation, Impact, has been checking medical and other records for evidence to support the women’s allegations with intention to launch a legal case against the Ministry of Defence similar to that led to a 4.5 million-pound out-of-court settlement to over 200 Maasai injured and maimed by unexploded British ordnance.
Innocent vulnability: British troops sexual assault victim
The difficulty for most women is pinpointing the time of attack. Most do not know their exact age. No one possesses a calendar or clock. The women time the rapes by reference to ‘the moon eclipse’, the ‘time of the great rains’ or ‘after the birth of my fifth child’. But Elizabeth, the first woman in Dol Dol to go to school, has a better education, and sense of time, than the others.
She also claims a lasting reminder of her assault. His name is Maxwell and he was born in June 1979, his light skin and tight blond hair a permanent reminder of his biological father’s.brutality
Elizabeth says time is a healer, but Maxwell‘s arrival sparked a period of ostracism for her. Relations between the Maasai and British Army were tense and, after she had Maxwell, Elizabeth was hated for bringing the enemy into her people’s midst and was abandoned to poverty by her husband.
‘She was so beautiful when she was young, but she started drinking after the rape,’ whispers Elizabeth‘s nephew.
Maxwell is more open about his miserable life. ‘In primary school no one wanted to sit with me,’ he says. ‘Teachers would tell the others that I was a human being like them and that I would not eat them, but they taunted me with “Johnny British”. I didn’t have a friend until I was 15. My mother did not tell me she had been raped, but the community said the British man who built my school was my father.’
Maxwell would stand for hours in the sun hoping to grow darker. ‘Even now people still discriminate against me when I go for jobs,’ he says. ‘I have done the Maasai initiations because I think I am a Maasai, but the community doesn’t agree.’ Maxwell has found solace in the church and more in marriage. ‘My wife says love is blind,’ he says.
But skin colour matters. It even adds to the shame of rape.
‘To be raped at all is shameful,’ says Tition Pere. ‘To be raped by an outsider is worse and to be raped by a Mazungu [white person] is worst of all.’ Her neck ringed with traditional beads and shells, Tition says she was attacked in the mid-Eighties by four soldiers while tending her goats.
‘I saw the soldiers and I started to run because I knew British soldiers raped. They chased me for almost a kilometre. They were loaded with bags and guns but they still caught up with me. The two who reached me first were fighting with each other who would rape me first. I think the two others who caught up were ashamed because they started to pull the other the two men off. The sheet I was wearing had come undone and they could see I was pregnant.’
Maasai women of child-bearing age were more or less constantly pregnant then. Tition says she was seven months pregnant with her first child when the soldiers hunted her down. ‘I miscarried the next day,’ she says. ‘I didn’t tell anyone but my husband. We split up a few years later. We had many problems, but I think they all started with the rape.
‘I had a lot of psychological difficulties afterwards. I don’t know if I could have identified the soldiers then and now I don’t know if they are even alive.’
Inside her home of cow dung and sticks, Nkaramat Puiunoi, holds her head in her hands as she describes an attack while she was herding goats at Soitoudo, 30kms from Dol Dol.
‘I was in my late twenties and had five children,’ she says. ‘I knew the British Army was around and was trying to avoid them. When I saw the large group of soldiers I started to run. I don’t know exactly how many raped me because I blacked out. They were like so many dogs at a bone.
‘The worst thing is that everyone knew what had happened because I was found by other Maasai and taken to hospital. Even now when I walk out, it is what I am known for. I still find it painful to talk about. I did not bear another child for more than 10 years. I lost some of my hearing that day and I still cannot hear properly.’
A large group attack is also reported by Esther Sukuko. She says she was gathering firewood with three other women and a 10-year-old girl when they were ambushed by soldiers in 1985. ‘They left the girl alone but they raped the women,’ she says. She thinks 20 soldiers were present, although half refused to take part.
‘When one soldier finished, he called another. I remember one man coming over, shaking his head and walking away. I was vomiting and I lost consciousness. I was found by the roadside by Bwana [boss] Carr, the American who owned the ranch my father worked on. He must have known I had been raped. I was naked and bleeding. He took me to hospital and contacted my father.
‘I was in hospital for months. I think I lost my mind for a while. My father left his job because everyone on the ranch knew what had happened. I never saw the other women again. They were Turkanas, not Maasai. I think they moved on. It was a long time ago, when people were only aware of things in their own world, but I hope these men can still be found and that they are beaten by our warriors until they too end up in hospital.”
Martin Day, the British lawyer who handled the ordnance claim against the MoD, has been willing to examine the rape allegations, though he warns that the lapse of time and lack of evidence could present difficulties.
He also thinks MoD responsibility for rape by a soldier may be harder to establish than responsibility for unexploded bombs. However, Impact’s director, Johnston Ole Kaunga, is promising to champion the women’s cause.’I would like to see a commission of inquiry into the general conduct of the British Army,’ he says.
An MoD spokeswoman(?) said there was no record of rape allegations by Maasai women. ‘But if anyone wants to make a formal complaint, it is something we would look into,’ she says. She appeared to forget that there is no glory in claiming one was raped.
The MoD spokeswoman is deliberately ignorant of the British troops Nazi-style atrocities in Kenya during the 1952-1960 emergency as they sought to crash independence uprising by Mau Mau. Thousands of innocent men were murdered their wives and daughters raped and sodomised in a bid to forcefully retain the then British colony as they did in Australia and New Zealand.
The uprising by Mau Mau nationalists in 1950s Kenya was brutally suppressed by the British colonial government. The Kenya Human Rights Commission estimates that 90,000 Kenyans were killed or maimed and 160,000 detained. Torture and rape were common.
Britain had tried for three years to block the legal action, arguing that responsibility passed to Kenya upon its independence in 1963, and that the claim was brought after the legal time limit. Both arguments were rejected in court.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the way the government fought the legal action was an insult. He added that thousands more people were abused under British colonial rule.
“Even the colonial administrators of the time admitted that these abuses were happening. So I do not understand why in good conscience(?) the British government held out and fought so long and hard to deny this compensation and apology,” he said.
The British troops have made a habit of leaving unexploded ordinances that have claimed innocent lives of pastoral communities and their livestock. In admission of guilt UK paid £4.5 million plus costs for the injuries and deaths, out of court settlement to compensate victims of their abandoned armaments. Hundreds of Kenyans, especially women and children, have been seriously injured or killed by unexploded bombs left on the ranges.
President Uhuru adviser Manoah Esipisu holds that Kenya’s new constitution requires that British soldiers accused of offences on Kenyan soil must be prosecuted under Kenyan law. But the unrepentant British does not want to subject its randy troops to Kenyan courts.
The truth of the matter is that by the balance of probabilities (to use UK Visa office favourite phrase) Kenyans cannot be satisfied today that British troops would not repeat similar atrocities or pose a greater national security danger if some of them deserted the training to join Al Shabaab en route to ISIS combat fields in the Middle East. They may not be genuinely using Kenyan facilities for military gain as they claim but with other ulterior motives and evil intentions.
After all the notorious female terrorist nicknamed the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite, is British. Claims that she was shot and killed in Ukraine by a Russian sniper have never been confirmed. Lewthwaite was married to 7/7 suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, 19, a Jamaican-born Yorkshireman, and allegedly left Britain in 2009 before being linked to atrocities in Africa.
Several other British terrorists, members of Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab in Somalia, have been killed in Kenya on terrorism missions.
Black widow Lewthwaite the British can’t capture
Lewthwaite was involved in the Westgate Mall terrorist attack in Nairobi among others in Kenya but Britain appears impotent to capture her while scaring away tourists after Kenyans showed determination to edge out UK tour operators who have skimmed tourism industry wealth since independence through pre-paid Safari packages.
The Kenya government should never expose her populations to savages with a history of vile and barbaric brutality not only in Africa but one that extends globally to far flung Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and the Americas. As former US representative to the United Nations Andrew Young once observed, the British, (especially the English) invented racism and they consider all other races inferior to them.
This article was first published by Kenya Confidential on April 13, 2015.