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British Army unit doesn't use M16 rifles, UK's Marriott says over Laikipia attacks

Natembeya recanted his statements saying such weapons might have been smuggled.

In Summary

• Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya had suggested that the bandits in Laikipia have M16 rifles usually used by foreign forces who train in the area.

• British High commissioner Jane Marriott said there are no Batuk weapons circulating in Kenya and they do a 100 per cent daily quantity check.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott.
UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott.
Image: UK in Kenya

The British Army Training Unit in Kenya has refuted claims that their weapons have been used in Laikipia attacks that have claimed eight lives.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya had suggested that the bandits in Laikipia have M16 rifles usually used by foreign forces who train in the area.

“We are certain there are no Batuk weapons circulating in Kenya,” British High commissioner Jane Marriott said in a tweet on Thursday.

“We do a 100 per cent daily quantity check, and a 100 per cent weekly check by individual serial number, and none are missing.”

Marriott said units exercising with Batuk do not use M16 rifles.

During the briefing early in the week, Natembeya said how such a powerful rifle got into their hands is a puzzle that should be investigated.

"The guns that these bandits are using are mighty. They are called M16. Most of them are only used by foreign troops who come to train in Kenya,'' Natembeya told journalists.

However, on Wednesday, Natembeya recanted his statements saying such weapons might have been smuggled into Kenya from unstable neighbours like South Sudan and Northern Uganda.

So far, Former Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel and Tiaty MP William Kamket have since been arrested over ongoing clashes in Laikipia.

M16 rifles can shoot over a range of 3.5 kilometres.

It can release 60 rounds of ammunition within a minute, which translates to a bullet a second.

Every year, about 10,000 British troops train in Kenya, at the Nyati Barracks at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk) in Nanyuki, Laikipia County.

Banditry attacks in Laikipia have led to the death of eight people in the last month.

Of the eight, three are police officers enforcing security in the region, while five are civilians.

Natembeya said that the deaths happened before the security operation began on Tuesday.

The National Security Council met Monday and declared Laikipia a disturbed and a security operation area.

The council meeting came two days after an earlier one by the National Security Advisory Committee.

Edited by D Tarus