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Army chief ‘appalled’ by British soldiers’ alleged role in killing of Kenyan woman

Kenyan

Army chief ‘appalled’ by British soldiers’ alleged role in killing of Kenyan woman

The head of the army has said he is “appalled” by allegations that British soldiers may have been involved in the killing of a Kenyan woman.

General Mark Carleton-Smith said he was determined to work with the authorities to establish the facts in the killing of Agnes Wanjiru.

The body of Wanjiru, who was 21, was found in a septic tank at the Lions Court hotel in the town of Nanyuki, close to the Batuk (British Army Training Unit Kenya) camp, two months after she disappeared in March 2012. She had been stabbed, Kenyan investigators later concluded.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Carleton-Smith said: “I am sure you are all as appalled as I am at the recent allegations surrounding the murder of Agnes Wanjiru in Nanyuki, Kenya, in 2012. I want you to know I am determined we support the appropriate authorities to establish the facts of the issue as quickly as possible.”

However, he did not say whether that should include an investigation by the Royal Military Police.

The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said he is waiting on a request from Kenya for assistance in finding Wanjiru’s killer. A defence source told the PA news agency: “The defence secretary has been impatient with the pace of this, and has directed full cooperation. He has worked with the military police and Kenyans to ensure their investigation is not impeded.”

The Sunday Times reported that a soldier accused of the murder has been named by his comrades after he allegedly confessed to the killing and that another soldier reported the killing to senior officers at the time, but the military took no action.

Labour has called on the government to investigate any possible “cover-up”. The shadow defence secretary, John Healey, described the killing of Wanjiru as “dreadful” and called on ministers to act on “reports of grave failings by the British military exposed in this case”.

He added: “There’s been no MoD-led investigation of the soldiers involved and no inquiry into why the MoD failed to respond when Kenyan detectives asked for help. Nine years on, justice must now be done for Agnes and her family.”

Wanjiru dropped out of high school and later became a sex worker to look after her baby. She was last seen by witnesses on the night of 31 March 2012 walking out of a Nanyuki bar accompanied by two British soldiers.

Her body was later discovered behind a room where the soldiers had stayed, with missing body parts and a stabbing injury.

According to the Sunday Times, a Kenyan judge presiding over the 2019 inquest concluded that Wanjiru had been murdered by one or two British soldiers. Njeri Thuku said: “I have formed the opinion that Agnes was murdered by British soldiers. It may have been one or two. But what is certain is that it was British soldiers because they were dressed in their uniform.”

The judge said a broken mirror and blood were found in a room at the Lions Court hotel and there may have been a “cover-up”. She ordered two further criminal inquiries. Despite Kenyan police investigations and inquiries by Ministry of Defence investigators, no one was brought to justice, the Sunday Times reported.

Wanjiru’s daughter, now 10, is cared for by her Agnes’s sister Rose, who told the paper: “We are poor, but we will not be silent. I know British soldiers killed her. All I can do now is pray they will be caught.”

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Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Adeleke’s Candidacy

The Supreme Court has affirmed Ademola Adeleke as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded Osun State Governorship Election.

This has laid to rest the suit filed by Dotun Babayemi, a governorship aspirant of the party who sought the invalidation of Adeleke’s victory.

In a judgement delivered by Justice Amina Augie, the five-member panel held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit after counsel for the appellant, Adebayo Adelodun, withdrew the earlier notice of appeal that was filed within time.

At the resumed hearing, Adelodun, who represented the appellant and Babayemi informed the court that he sought to withdraw the earlier notice of appeal to replace it with the fresh application he filed.

But the panel held that Section 285(11) of the constitution stipulated that an appeal on a pre-election matter must be filed within 14 days from the day of the decision, and that having filed the second appeal out of time, the apex court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Justice Augie, therefore, dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Babayemi had asked the court to invalidate the primary election that produced the governor-elect, citing non-compliance with a court order.

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News

400 Staff To Lose Jobs As BBC Goes Digital

The British Broadcasting Corporation BBC world service has on Thursday disclosed that about 400 of its staff will lose their jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme and move to digital platforms,

The BBC said its international services needed to make savings of £28.5 million ($31 million) as part of wider reductions of £500 million.

In July it detailed plans to merge BBC World News television and its domestic UK equivalent into a single channel to launch in April next year.

BBC World Service currently operates in 40 languages around the world with a weekly audience of some 364 million people.

But the corporation said audience habits were changing and more people were accessing news online, which along with a freeze on BBC funding and increased operating costs meant a move to “digital-first” made financial sense.

BBC World Service director Liliane Landor said there was a “compelling case” for expanding digital services, as audiences had more than doubled since 2018.

“The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing,” she added.

 

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Environment

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall at around 15:10 local time (19:10 GMT) on Wednesday, smashing into the coast with wind speeds of up to 241km/h (150mph).

Dramatic scenes saw a hospital roof blown off, cars submerged and trees ripped out of the ground.

The category four hurricane was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

However, Floridians were warned that the most dangerous 24 hours lay ahead and the mayor of Tampa urged people to shelter in place through the night into Thursday morning.

“We are going to get the majority of the rain and the higher winds starting about 20:00, and they are going to last throughout the night,” Jane Castor said during a Wednesday evening briefing.

In a message posted on Facebook, the Weather Prediction Center told residents in the Central Florida Peninsula to expect “widespread life-threatening, catastrophic flash and urban flooding” continuing into Friday morning, with potentially up to 76cm (30ins) of rain falling locally.

Residents were ordered to leave their homes, but many have decided to remain and seek shelter indoors.

Mark Pritchett, who lives in the city of Venice, some 95km (60 miles) south of Tampa, described the “terrifying” moment he stepped outside his home as the hurricane made its way across the Gulf of Mexico.

“Rain shooting like needles. My street is a river,” he said in a text message to the Associated Press news agency.

In Lee County – the south-west region where Ian made landfall – police were prevented from responding to reports of looting at a petrol station because of the storm damage.

As a result, a curfew has been declared “until further notice”.

Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais said that the Fort Myers community had “been – to some extent – decimated”. According to news agency AFP, some neighbourhoods in the city of 80,000 had been left resembling lakes.

State Governor Ron DeSantis described Ian as the “biggest flood event” south-west Florida had ever seen, and announced that 7,000 National Guard troops are ready to lead rescue operations in flood zones.

President Joe Biden will receive a briefing on Thursday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ian is now continuing to move north through Florida. Jacksonville International Airport, based in north-east Florida, cancelled all flights scheduled for Thursday.

The storm is forecast to emerge into the Atlantic by Thursday morning.

It is expected to reach Georgia and South Carolina on Friday. Virginia has also joined Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida by declaring a state of emergency.

Cuba’s western coast was hit by Hurricane Ian on Tuesday. Power has now been restored in some areas after the island was plunged into a total blackout. Two people are understood to have been killed in Cuba and more than 20 Cuban migrants are believed to be missing at sea.

Predicted path of Hurricane Ian. Updated 27 September

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