British Army soldiers are set to resume training in Kenya nearly a year after they were recalled to the UK following the outbreak of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, and Kenya’s Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma oversaw the opening of the newly-built Nyati Barracks at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk) in Nanyuki, Laikipia County.
“We both have ambitions to make more of the Batuk with Kenyan and British soldiers training alongside each other as partners. We want to develop the facility to something beyond just training and use it as a demonstration of our deepening partnership,” Mr Wallace said.
The new Nyati Barracks is adjacent to Kenya’s Laikipia Airbase.
British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) is a permanent training support unit based mainly in Nanyuki, 200 km north of Nairobi, but with a small element in Nairobi. BATUK provides demanding training to exercising units preparing to deploy on operations or assume high-readiness tasks.
The British troops, who had been recalled back to the UK in March last year after Kenya recorded the first COVID-19 cases are expected to continue arriving in the country over the next few weeks. The soldiers will undergo 15-day acclimatization and quarantine period before embarking on training exercises.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) maintains a longstanding Military Agreement with the government of Kenya that sees up to six British infantry battalions (10,000 service personnel) per year carry out four-week exercises on Kenya’s Ministry of Defence land at Archer’s Post and in Laikipia County.
The weather conditions in Kenya and the rugged terrain present are favourable for British soldiers to improve their skills through training.