The UK government has responded to concerns raised over the use the white phosphorus, a chemical considered toxic to humans by the British Army in Kenya.
This was after, East Lothian Member of Parliament, Kenny MacAskill sought clarification from the government over its use by British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK).
In a response to the UK parliament on Wednesday, April 27, James Heappey, Britain's Minister for the Armed Forces acknowledged that officers use the chemical insisting that it was only used for illumination.
"The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) have used white phosphorus mortar rounds on training exercises, where conditions have permitted their use.
"White phosphorus mortar rounds are used to provide white light illumination for training at night, as well as for smoke screening purposes," read the statement in part.
Additionally, BATUK released a statement further stating that the chemical is only used in designated areas in their training camp in Samburu County.
"The UK does not use white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon. In Kenya, it is only used at the Archer’s Post Training Area, and only when conditions allow it," read the statement in part.
While the use of white phosphorus has not been declared illegal globally, its use is restricted over health concerns as fragments of the chemical cause burning of the skin.
White phosphorus is used mainly in the military for drills and operations to mask the enemies' vision of the troops' movement.
BATUK has been under sharp scrutiny in recent months over the misconduct of some of the soldiers.
In 2021, news of the murder of Agnes Wanjiru caused a global uproar as Kenya and the UK launched an investigation into the incident alleged to have taken place in 2012.
The uproar caused Heappey to visit Kenya. A report on the conclusive investigations is yet to be released to the public.
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