Kenyans seek justice over British Mau Mau 'brutality'

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Four elderly Kenyans are to go before the High Court in London on Thursday seeking justice over the abuse they claim they suffered at the hands of the British army during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising.

They are seeking an apology and a welfare fund for victims in a test case which could open the door for claims from around a thousand others still alive who survived the colonial power's detention camps during the bloody struggle for independence.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office contends that the Kenyan government, as the successor to the colonial administration, is legally liable for events before independence in 1963.

After eight years of pursuing their case, the Kenyans are finally preparing to face the High Court.

Born in 1928, Wambugu Wa Nyingi is one of the four claimants who have travelled from Kenya.

He said he was detained without charge for nine years, subjected to forced labour and beaten daily with sticks. During one interrogation, he says, he was tied upside down by his feet and doused in cold water.

Nyingi says he survived a massacre at the British-run Hola Camp, lying unconscious for three days alongside 11 people who were killed.

Speaking to AFP in Kikuyu though a Kenyan student living in London, he said he thought Britain would meet "international norms" and "correct those injustices".

He said he was a member of the Kenya African Union (KAU) party, which advocated independence, but did not take the Mau Mau oath and join the violent rebellion.

"I suffered physical violence on my head, on my legs, I still have the scars today because of the beatings from the colonial administrators," he said.

"I am here to get justice for the many of my colleagues who have since died, and others who are still alive but living in abject poverty because of the injustices that were committed by the British colonial government."

The court case is expected to last two weeks.

© 2011 AFP

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