By Lilian Wamathai, Kenyans
A photo of a British soldier admitting to killing the elephants has caused an uproar on social media after it made rounds both in Kenya and in the UK.
“Two months in Kenya later and we’ve only got eight days left. Been good, caused a fire, killed an elephant and feel terrible about it but hey-ho, when in Rome,” he wrote in a Snapchat post.
The photo is believed to be in reference to an inferno from last week. Kenyans expressed disappointment in the matter calling out the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to take action.
“This really disappoints. And why in God’s name are they investigating?@kwskenya. Kenyan laws only mandate you to protect our wildlife. Did you donate those powers to visitors? I once found the @BATUKOfficial boys controlling traffic at an accident scene. Would that happen in the UK?” lamented Peter Wanjohi.
“Lolldaiga is the place in Laikipia and it’s not the first time. Unfortunately, we are still a colony for the British empire,” wrote another user.
The fire that has raged over 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area in Nanyuki has prompted investigations by the British Army.
The 50,000-acre Loldaiga reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife to more than 400 species of birds as well as rare Grevy’s zebra, leopards, and wild dogs.
The UK’s Ministry of Defense confirmed the incident noting that nobody was hurt. “We can confirm there has been a fire during a UK-Kenya-led exercise on Kenya and that investigations are ongoing. All personnel have been accounted for and now our priority is to urgently assist the local community if they have been impacted.”
“We are putting our resources into containing the fire and are working closely with the Kenyan authorities to manage the situation, said the ministry.
Residents fled their homes as howling hot winds drove the fire over the Lolldaiga Hills, 20kilometres from Mount Kenya. All military exercises have been suspended as hundreds of troops have been deployed in operation to put out the fire that is scaling the dry scrubland.
There are 230 military officers permanently based in Kenya to train the visiting UK troops and Kenyan forces. Some are part of the British Army Training Unit Kenya.