Britain 'Regrets' Colonial Abuse, Will Pay Kenyan Victims

This article is more than 6 years old.
Secretary General of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association, Gitu wa Kahengeri, right, shakes hands with British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner, left, at the start of a press conference announcing a settlement in the case by Mau Mau veterans for compensation against the British Government, in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Ben Curtis/AP)
Secretary General of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association, Gitu wa Kahengeri, right, shakes hands with British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner, left, at the start of a press conference announcing a settlement in the case by Mau Mau veterans for compensation against the British Government, in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Ben Curtis/AP)

Britain on Thursday said it "sincerely regrets" the acts of torture a British colonial government carried out against Kenyans fighting for liberation from colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s.

Several thousand now-elderly Kenyans say they were beaten and sexually assaulted by officers acting for the British administration trying to suppress the "Mau Mau" rebellion, during which groups of Kenyans attacked British officials and white farmers who had settled in some of Kenya's most fertile lands.

The settlement will pay about $21.5 million to the 5,200 Kenyans who were found to have been tortured, or about $4,100 per Kenyan victim.

Caroline Elkins, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book "Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya," helped uncover and document the abuses.

The Harvard University history professor was also an expert witness at various trials and hearings.

Elkins writes in Gulf News, "British colonial violence was brutal and systematic. If there is any justice, the Mau Mau’s stunning legal victory should be the first of many."

Here & Now spoke to Elkins in 2008, 2011 and 2012:

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.

This program aired on June 7, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Support the news

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news