The British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) is denying claims it used white phosphorus in northern Kenya.
But it defended the use of the chemical in training.
A report run by the Nation newspaper in Kenya said environmentalists and pastoralist communities had claimed the British army used white phosphorus during military drills.
BATUK’s community and media liaison officer Maj. Adrian Weale noted that the story is misleading and the British army only uses white phosphorous in controlled environments and for training purposes — posing no risk to humans or animals, including livestock and wildlife.
“We do train with it when conditions allow. If it is very dry and windy, we do not use it because it can start a fire. In terms of its environmental impact, it is no different from other high explosives used by other militaries across the world,” he said.
Kipkosgei Muyodi, a teacher, who spoke to Anadolu Agency said: “We, as locals, have always been wary of the dangers but we have no reported cases of it affecting us. There are talks that it might affect our livestock but if I am being honest, I have not witnessed any of this.”
The British army conducted a military drill in the area in March 2021 when a fire broke erupted, destroying thousands of acres of land, and residents are still waiting to be compensated.
More than 10,000 acres in Lolldaiga were burned by the fire that was allegedly started as soldiers were conducting training exercises.
The community in northern Kenya was given 60 days by a Kenyan court on Oct. 4 to file compensation claims for the damages. The court said residents would have to provide proof of land ownership and damage.
Thousands of Kenyan soldiers have received training from the BATUK camp, according to the UK Defense Ministry.
BATUK consists of around 100 permanent staff and a reinforcing short-tour cohort of another 280 personnel. Up to six infantry battalions per year carry out eight-week exercises in Kenya, under an agreement with the Kenyan government.