A Government ‘cover-up’ of one of the darkest episodes in British colonial history emerged yesterday on the eve of a High Court battle by veterans of Kenya’s independence war.Around 300 boxes of documents ‘lost’ for almost half a century have been unearthed as four elderly Kenyans claim compensation for torture carried out against Mau Mau rebels.The Kenyans say they suffered ‘unspeakable acts of brutality, including castrations and severe sexual assault’ in British-run detention camps during the rebellion against colonial rule between 1952 and 1960.
The 1,500 files – documenting efforts to put down the Mau Mau guerrilla insurgency – were spirited out of Africa on the eve of Kenya’s independence in 1963 and brought to Britain. The missing documents, with material that ‘might embarrass her Majesty’s Government’ removed, were thought to have been lost or destroyed.But after a High Court judge ordered the Government to produce all relevant evidence, the files – which filled 110ft of shelving – were found in the Foreign Office.They are expected to play a key role in the court action beginning tomorrow by Kenyan claimants who want a statement of regret from the Government and a welfare fund for victims. With at least 1,400 other former Mau Mau detainees still alive, Britain could face a multi-million-pound compensation bill if the Kenyans win their case.
Read more stories on Muigwithania on this issue: British Stories On Human Rights Abuses In Kenya