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Country Reports
KENYA, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Key developments since May 2000: Kenya ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 23 January 2001. UXO victims in Kenya are currently seeking legal redress from the British government, which undertakes joint military training exercises in northern Kenya. British Royal Engineers started clearing munitions early April 2001.

Mine Ban Policy

Kenya signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 5 December 1997 and ratified it on 23 January 2001.[1] The treaty enters into force for Kenya on 1 July 2001. Kenya’s first Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report will be due on 28 December 2001. The ratification followed a promise by the Minister of State in charge of Defense, Julius Sunkuli, during the launch of Landmine Monitor Report 2000 in Nairobi.[2] The process for developing implementing legislation of the Mine Ban Treaty has not yet begun.

Kenya attended the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2000 and also participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in December 2000 and May 2001. Kenya attended both the Horn of Africa/Gulf of Eden Conference on Landmines held in Djibouti in November 2000 and the Bamako, Mali all-Africa Seminar on Universalisation and Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty in Africa in February 2001. It voted in favor of the November 2000 UN General Assembly resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty.

Kenya is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and did not participate in the Second Annual Conference of States Parties to its Amended Protocol II in December 2000.

Landmine and UXO Problem and Landmine Incidents

Kenya has a historic but limited problem with unexploded ordnance (UXO) dating back to World War I and World War II, and also from the Mau Mau insurgency in the years leading to independence. More recently, Army maneuvers involving the Kenyan, US, and UK armed forces, especially in the pastoral north of the country, appear to have

led to an increase in the UXO problem in training ranges. Dozens of Kenyans, most of them children, injured by explosives left behind by the British army while on military training exercises in Kenya are currently seeking legal redress from the British government.[3] In April 2001, the British Army dispatched Royal Engineering ballistics troops to the Archer’s Post and Isiolo training ranges to start clearing explosives abandoned during the drills.[4] The British Ministry of Defense has pledged to pursue the evidence of such munitions and said, “If we are shown to be culpable, clearly we will have to respond to that.”[5]

In April 2001, some 10,000 Somali refugees fled to Kenya and claimed that they encountered mines on their way to Moyale, Kenya.[6] Moyale is a border district between Somalia to the east and Ethiopia to the north. It is unclear whether the refugees encountered the mines on Kenyan side of the border. But it is not the first such incident.

On 23 March 2000, it was reported that 14 were killed and 5 injured in two mine blasts in the same area. Two reports said all casualties were from Kenya; however, the Eastern Provincial Commissioner, who is also chairperson of the Eastern Provincial Security Committee, refuted that any Kenyans were involved. She was “waiting for any relevant details from the Ethiopian government which was handling the matter.”[7]

Kenya has also received refugees, some of whom are mine victims, from other bordering countries currently or recently engaged in conflict (Somalia, Sudan and Uganda). Care is available in the country.[8]

Mine Action

Kenyan Armed Forces are currently participating in the UN peacekeeping effort in Eritrea, where mines have been used extensively. At the Djibouti Landmines Conference in November 2000, Brigadier General Emiliano Tonui, Chief of Operations of the Department of Defence, appealed for training of Kenya military personnel (particularly those working in Eritrea) in mine clearance; he also appealed for resources for the acquisition of demining equipment.[9] The military does not conduct mine awareness education.

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[1] The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Bonaya Godana signed the ratification document on 8 January 2001.
[2] Statement by Julius Sunkuli, Minister of State in charge of Defense, during the launch of Landmine Monitor Report 2000, Nairobi, 7 September 2000. He welcomed Landmine Monitor Report 2000 as “a commendable effort.”
[3] “Kenyans to get UK aid in suit,” Daily Nation (newspaper), Nairobi, 27 April 2001, p. 17. The suit is being processed by counsel in London following a landmark decision in the House of Lords allowing foreign compensation claims against a British defendant to be pursued in a British court. A British law firm, Leigh Day and Company is pressing the case for the victims. It has so far recorded 90 deaths and 110 cases of maiming, among them 50 children, in the compensation case.
[4] “Troops clearing munitions,” Daily Nation, 25April 2001, p. 16.
[5] Daily Nation, 27 April 2001, quoting a ministry of Defence spokesman.
[6] A Nairobi TV Station, KTN, in its news bulleting, quoting UNHCR, 17 April 2001.
[7] Kenya Broadcasting Corporation TV (in English), Nairobi, 1800 gmt, 23 March 2000; Daily Nation, 23 March 2000; “Landmines Kill 14, Injure Four Others In Kenya,” PANA, Nairobi, Kenya, see AFRICA NEWS ONLINE: http://www.africanews.org/index.html.
[8] Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 175.
[9] Interview with Brigadier General Emiliano Tonui, Chief of Operations, Department of Defense, Palais de Peuples, Djibouti, 16 November 2000.