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Masai Bomb Victims

Hundreds of Kenyans, including children, have been killed or seriously injured by unexploded bombs left on practice ranges by the British Army.

Kipise Louroilkeek

1 March 2004

For over 50 years the British Army has been using two practice ranges in central Kenya to carry out live manoeuvres. In that time, hundreds of Kenyan children have been seriously injured or killed by unexploded bombs left on the ranges. This has left them with catastrophic injuries such as blindness, deafness, burns and amputations.

In March 2001, Action Aid contacted Leigh Day & Co. on behalf of the local community. We pursued a claim against the Ministry of Defence in London and in July 2002 we successfully negotiated a deal for them to pay £4.5 million plus costs to the 233 Kenyan victims, bringing hope to a community where none had previously existed.

The Leigh Day team has since been working with the local group, Osiligi, to help the claimants to have the medical treatment they need and to make the best use of their compensation.

The Ministry of Defence agreed to pay £4.5 million in compensation for their injuries

A deal was struck on the 7th August 2002 between the Ministry of Defence and the lawyers representing some 228 Masai Bomb victims for them to pay £4.5m plus costs for the injuries, and deaths, arising from the British Army’s use of the practice ranges at Archers Post and Dol Dol in central Kenya. In paying the money, the Ministry of Defence accepted limited liability for the injuries and deaths occurring.

Individual claimants will receive sums commensurate with the level of their injuries with the most seriously injured likely to receive around £250,000.

The issue only reached the public eye in March 2001 when Leigh, Day and Co was invited by the local community group in Dol Dol, Osiligi, to travel to Kenya to represent the interests of the injured children and their families. Claims were subsequently commenced in London. In November 2001, the Claimants successfully fought off the Ministry of Defence’s application to have the claim transferred to Nairobi, on the basis it would mean the claim would never be heard.

In March 2002 the Ministry of Defence asked for the case being mediated. Martyn Day said:
"I am absolutely delighted with the outcome of the mediation. We represent people who have been blinded, have lost limbs and have suffered the most appalling internal injuries by these bombs. They have had the most miserable of existences since their accidents. The fact the Ministry of Defence has so speedily held its hands up and agreed to pay proper levels of damages to my clients will ensure that they can now start to live half way decent lives."

Martyn Day travelled to Kenya to gain approval of the deal from the other 228 Kenyans.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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