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The head of the UK’s armed forces has said the military will be working with Kenyan authorities to bring to trial any soldiers implicated in the killing of a woman more than nine years ago.
The body of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru was found in a septic tank close to a British army base two months after she disappeared in March 2012.
According to reports, a British soldier has confessed to the sex worker’s murder.
The allegations are truly shocking and it is absolutely vital that we get to the bottom of them
General Sir Nick Carter
With Kenyan police announcing they will be reopening the probe into Ms Wanjuri’s death, General Sir Nick Carter said the allegations were “truly shocking” and that he wanted the investigation “resolved as quickly as it possibly can be”.
The Chief of Defence Staff’s comments come after the Defence Secretary insisted there was “no cover-up” under way into what happened nine years ago.
Sir Nick, who is due to retire from his post, told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: “The allegations are truly shocking and it is absolutely vital that we get to the bottom of them as quickly as possible and that those who are guilty – if they are guilty of those allegations – are brought to trial.
“We are going to co-operate very closely with the Kenyan authorities to make sure that is resolved as quickly as it possibly can be.”
According to the Sunday Times a soldier has allegedly confessed to the killing and another soldier reported it to senior officers at the time – but no action was taken.
In a report last month, the newspaper said a soldier accused of the murder had been named by his comrades.
An initial inquiry was unsuccessful but a fresh investigation has been launched after an inquest, delayed until 2019, found Ms Wanjiru was unlawfully killed.
Her remains were found at the Lions Court Hotel in the town of Nanyuki two months after she disappeared in 2012.
The town is close to the Batuk (British Army Training Unit Kenya) camp.
A post-mortem examination found Ms Wanjiru died as a result of stab wounds to her chest and abdomen.
There was also evidence she had been beaten, although due to the condition of her body it was unclear whether she had been sexually assaulted.
Witnesses told the Sunday Times that Ms Wanjiru was last seen leaving the hotel’s bar with a British soldier.
Sir Nick branded the allegations against a British serviceman as “fundamentally disgraceful”.
There’s no cover-up, there’s no blockade
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace
Asked on Sky News about entitled male behaviour in the armed forces, he added: “The bottom line is that you cannot have the sort of culture that leads to this sort of behaviour and these sort of allegations.
“It is fundamentally disgraceful and in no way can the armed forces be happy if that occurs. It will be a deterrent to all sorts of things that we espouse and we must get to the bottom of it.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had aided the investigation into Ms Wanjiru’s killing.
Speaking to the House Magazine, the Cabinet minister said: “It’s a deeply concerning murder and story, and there is no-one in the MoD standing in the way of (an investigation).
“There’s no cover-up, there’s no blockade.”
He said his department had shared names with the Kenyan authorities nine years ago but did not receive a mutual legal assistance request for help.