24.04.2024 Author: Simon Chege Ndiritu

BATUK: British Army ‘Tainting Unit in Kenya’ or Tropical Sex Holiday Home?

BATUK: British Army ‘Tainting Unit in Kenya’ or Tropical Sex Holiday Home?


It is customary for the UK foreign ministry and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to boast how the country assist its allies including Kenya to maintain security by training the latter’s military and police and also deploying soldiers in these allies’ territories. London has repeatedly insisted on its ally Kenya to sigh ‘defense’ partnership’ which may make uninformed observer think that Kenya would collapse in one day without British help. However, it is becoming clear that UK’s assistance is nonexistent, and not for stated purpose as soldiers in the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) have been seen behaving as thugs on vacation. An article published on 7th April in Mail Online (here), a week before the writing of this article shows how BATUK contingent and its officer class engage in depraved and potentially risky sexual activities, as earlier reports show the same unit being incapable of maintaining hygiene, safekeeping equipment and following the law, and therefore being hooligans. As the UK instigates wars and turmoil across the world, it will be interesting to see how its soldiers, from BATUK will be of any use in achieving military objectives.

Live ‘fire’ Exercise

The UK sends about 10,000 troops to Kenya annually for 8-week long live-firing exercises, but this firing seems to be taking a sexual angle nowadays. The Mail Online article referred to earlier (here) reported that UK soldiers deployed to Kenya were being ‘forced’ to engage in unprotected sex with prostitutes.  Further reading reveals that senior British officers were performing initiation ceremonies, in which they would toss a coin to determine whether young soldiers would use protection while performing sexual acts with prostitutes (here). The report leaves out details of where these officers find these prostitutes, if they are underage, or whether they get an opportunity to consent to the use of protection. Also, the reader is not informed how the senior officers involved checks to confirm whether the soldier involved wears a condom or not, and it is not hard to imagine public performance supervised by these perverted British officers. The questions arising paints a picture of among other things exploitation of prostitutes, and extremely poor discipline of British officers who would be expected to be studying or training soldiers. The other subject that comes to the fore is UK’s inverted priorities not only in Kenya but also globally.

In early April 2024 when BATUK’s main preoccupation was being revealed (here), the world was teetering at the brink of crises, surrounding Iranian retaliation for US, UK, and France supported Israeli bombing of consulate in Damascus, and the ongoing NATO led war against Russia in eastern Ukraine. However, it seems these are not matters that would bother the British Military officers in Kenya, who chose to create and witness some pleasurable moments for English boys on unofficial sex vacation in Africa. Simultaneously, the British establishment could not miss an opportunity to find someone to blame, as the Defense Medical Services (DMS) revealed that soldiers were supposed to receive a sex-health guide on arrival to Kenya, but returnees claimed to not have received such assistance. It is interesting that soldiers, who are adults, did not receive sex education at their schools, and would need to receive it after travelling to Kenya. DMS also reminded its readers that Kenya has a high HIV prevalence than the UK, probably as a way of encouraging soldiers to take more precautions while in Kenya, but one wonders whether officers had received such information. The report added that soldiers’ contracting sexually transmitted illnesses can limit operational effectiveness and also present global reputational risk. However, if the British officers genuinely wish to enhance operational effectiveness, sexual health is not the only challenge they face, as BATUK’s hygiene and ability to keep equipment safe is also lacking.

UK Army’s Challenge with Hygiene and “Global Reputational Risk”

Infections including venereal ones, those obtained from swimming in rivers, and virulent SARS-Cov-2 would greatly lower BATUK’s operational effectiveness, going by recent history. Soldiers in BATUK fell seriously ill in 2022 after reportedly contracting cryptosporidiosis through swimming in a river, according to a Mail Online Article (here). Interestingly, the same article reveals that the US, German, and French troops deployed in Africa have never contracted the same pathogen at such large scale. High (20%) incidence of cryptosporidiosis-related diarrhea (here) at BATUK Camp points to extreme exposure or presence of a more infectious pathogen of British origin, noting that Kenya has never experienced such an outbreak. Also, the media claim that soldiers contracted this pathogen while swimming in a river, which in addition to earlier revelation of sex related initiation events suggests that British soldiers spend significant time engaging in extreme recreational activities. Therefore, their reported purpose of being in Kenya to conduct live-fire exercises or to support the East African country is incorrect. One should wonder whether the UK has no comparable open spaces for live-fire training in England, Scotland or Wales, to appreciate how UK’s claim makes no sense. Earlier, British soldiers also aided in the spread of deadly viruses to Kenya (here) in 2021, which shows how the military force cannot maintain simple guidelines for managing the spread of infectious illnesses, and hence their effects on operational effectiveness.

Surprisingly, the UK government establishment also feels that the recent scandal can cause “Global Reputational Risk” which suggests that London thinks it has a positive reputation to protect. In reality, the British military’s real reputation is being thuggish and incompetent; thuggish because it is known in Kenya for killing an innocent lady and running over a man in addition to starting a huge fire that destroyed farms and wildlife (here, here). The force is also highly incompetent, as it reported loosing equipment worth millions (here).  The current scandal of officers getting recruits to engage in unprotected sex as some form of initiation should ring a bell as the highest form of incompetence among British military officers.

Protesting the Silence

At the time of the writing, the case was a week old but had been ignored by some Kenyan media houses, showing possible bias. Similarly, social media sites, including those that amplify fake news peddled by the BATUK in the past (here) have stayed away from publishing the sex scandal about BATUK on their sites. The author notes that failure to call out BATUK’s disgraceful behavior will create the wrong impression that British soldiers can do anything without responsibility. There is a need to ensure that despicable things done by BATUK are called out. Then again, one lesson learned is the significant rot in the British military’s focus on core business, including among officers. As the British government swaggers around the world claiming to give security support to its ‘allies’ through military training and deploying its military in allied territories, ‘allies’ especially Kenya, should note that the Military groups deployed are made up of sex perverts who think to be on holiday mode. These groups especially BATUK has a reputation of failing to maintain hygiene or keeping their equipment safe. The British contingent then appears as a liability and a potential risk to the host societies.


Simon Chege Ndiritu, is a political observer and research analyst from Africa, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

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