Lolldaiga community gets 16 days more as Britain extends claims application deadline for fire victims

Batuk Lolldaiga

The British Army Training Unit Training in Kenya -BATUK train for war at Lolldaiga training area in Laikipia County on November 14, 2022.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

The United Kingdom (UK) government has extended the deadline for submissions of compensation claims for a fire incident that occurred in March 2021, allowing Nanyuki’s Lolldaiga community 16 more days.

This followed a complaint by the locals that the Inter-governmental Liaison Committee’s email was full and they could no longer meet the deadline—December 20.

In a letter dated December 14 written by the community’s lawyer Kelvin Kubai, the locals say they read malice on how the matter, which is before the Liaison Committee consisting of UK and Kenya top military officials, was being handled.

“We were given an email address to send the complaints upon the court’s intervention, but after submitting only a handful of the claims, we started receiving notifications that the email was full. A person more cynical might think this was done on purpose to ensure the complaints are not received in time.”

But in its reply to the community yesterday, the British High Commission said the issue was a technical error because the mailbox had reached its limit.

In a letter, the British High Commissioner Jane Marriot rules out the suspicious ill intentions meant to frustrate the community in presenting the complaints, noting that a team hired by the UK Commission to investigate the accusation has established no malicious plans to block or limit the number of claims processed.

“This is why the British Ministry of Defence has agreed to extend the deadline of submitting the claim forms to December 31 as an act of good faith and as an attempt to ensure this matter is dealt with comprehensively,” she said.

The UK commission says the mailbox issue has since been resolved to allow the community to continue sending complaints.

During a previous court session before Nanyuki’s Environment and Land Court Judge Justice Antonina Kossy Bor, Mr Kubai said the last time the community sent a claim form successfully to the Liaison Committee was in November.

He said he tried in vain to reach out to the British government. The community is to present about 6,000 complaints seeking compensation for an inferno that destroyed over 10,000 acres of land at Lolldaiga conservancy during a British military training exercise.

The fire contained dangerous chemicals causing adverse effects on health, environment and property.

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