Survivor Describes How British Soldiers Slaughtered Mau Mau

Fredrick Ngugi June 28, 2016
Kenyan Mau Mau survivors in the UK. Photo (


Nelson Njau Munyaka, a 94-year-old Kenyan Mau Mau veteran, stunned British lawyers in London recently, when he recalled how British soldiers murdered two of his fellow Mau Mau fighters in Kenya’s Rift Valley during the struggle for independence.

The now-frail farmer narrated how his two friends, Kabiru and Kahiga, were shot by British soldiers for refusing to denounce the Mau Mau rebellion group, according to the Guardian.

“They were told to stand up, because they had taken an oath. They resisted, and once they resisted, they tried to escape and that’s when the British shot them,” Munyaka said.

The veteran also said that both he and six of his colleagues were ordered to carry the two corpses to a White settler’s farm, where they spent the night in the cold. According to Munyaka, they were threatened with death if they tried to escape.


A roundup of Mau Mau suspects in Kenya in 1952


Soldiers guard suspected Mau Mau fighters in the Kikuyu reserve at the time of the uprising against British colonial rule in Kenya in a picture taken in October 1952. Photograph: AFP/Getty

On another occasion, Munyaka says he was beaten by home guards (a group of British sympathizers comprising of locals) and his leg was badly injured.

Detention & Forced Labor 

In his testimony, 94-year-old Munyaka said he was moved to a camp located in Githunguri, Kiambu, where he was detained with other locals for about one year.

He added that he shared a single room with five other detainees, and every morning they would be taken to the farm to dig terraces without pay.

“I was also verbally abused by the home guards. They called me names, such as ‘dog’ and ‘donkey’ in presence of others. It was really shameful at my age being called such names by younger men who were home guards,” Munyaka further narrated.

Demand for Compensation

More than 40,000 Mau Mau survivors are suing the UK government for compensation for atrocities committed by British soldiers during the colonial period.

In 2013, the UK government paid £19.9 million to 5,228 Kenyan Mau Mau victims who were found to have suffered torture and abuse in the hands of British colonizers.

Another group of Mau Mau survivors, represented by Tandem Law, a group of solicitors based in Manchester, is set to fly to London next month to present its evidence.

However, Peter Skeleton QC, a lawyer representing British’s Foreign Office, says that the UK is concerned with the way the evidence has been produced, adding that it is impossible for the cases to be determined fairly since the alleged atrocities were committed decades ago.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 28, 2016


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