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Nanyuki
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Lolldaiga Fire Victims To Receive Compensation

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Lolldaiga community has been given 60 days to file a claim for compensation for a fire that took place at the Lolldaiga reserve in March 2021 by a liaison committee established by the governments of Kenya and the United Kingdom.

The British Army’s attorney, Mr. Lawrence Ondieki, stated during a Monday hearing before Nanyuki Environment and Lands Court Judge Antonina Kossy Bor that the Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee will this week print a notice in the media notifying the public about the claims process.

It was the committee’s first step, according to Mr. Ondieki, in resolving the conflict involving 1,496 community members.

The Lolldaiga community and the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk) have been engaged in a legal dispute over a fire that was started during military training operations and burnt more than 10,000 acres of vegetation at the Lolldaiga conservancy.

African Centre for Corrective and Preventive Action, a community and environmental advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against Batuk on the grounds that the fire released smoke containing hazardous chemicals and explosives, harming human and animal health by causing serious eye problems and miscarriages.

Due to the stifling heat, some locals who lived close to the ranch were forced to leave their houses. The winds also destroyed homes and crops while driving wildlife out of the area.

Along with Batuk, the lawsuit names Lolldaiga Hills Limited and its army commanding officer as respondents.

According to attorney Ondieki, the committee had provided samples of the claim forms to the involved parties.

The claimants will be required to enter their personal information, the type of claim (personal injury or environmental damage), and supporting documentation, according to the forms.

Due to the stifling heat, some locals who lived close to the ranch were forced to leave their houses. The winds also destroyed homes and crops while driving wildlife out of the area.

Along with Batuk, the lawsuit names Lolldaiga Hills Limited and its army commanding officer as respondents.

According to attorney Ondieki, the committee had provided samples of the claim forms to the involved parties.

The claimants will be required to enter their personal information, the type of claim (personal injury or environmental damage), and supporting documentation, according to the forms.

After establishing working subcommittees in Kenya and the UK to resolve the dispute, Mr. Ondieki informed the court that this was the first action the Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee had taken. He added that the large number of claimants was a significant challenge.

Thirty of the petitioners had passed away since the lawsuit was filed, according to the community’s attorney Kelvin Kubai, who asked the court to step in and hasten the resolution of the issue.

Due to the ongoing repercussions on the community’s health and ecology, he said, “We would like the committee to address the problem as urgent.”

However, Justice Bor determined that the dispute had previously been settled outside of court by the committee and that the court was unable to intervene.

He stated that the request could only be handled by the liaison committee, but that “they should take note of your concerns.” He directed Mr. Ondieki to request that the committee consider resolving the matter as soon as possible.

The case will be heard again on December 5.


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