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Faith Nyasuguta

Senior British soldiers have been accused of subjecting new recruits deployed at the Nanyuki military base in Kenya to a disturbing initiation ritual involving unprotected sex with prostitutes, leaving them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections. 

This shocking revelation surfaced in a report published by the UK-based Mail on Sunday, highlighting a deeply concerning practice within the military hierarchy.

According to the report, which draws from insights provided by the British Medical Journal Military Health, senior soldiers allegedly employ a reckless method to determine whether new recruits should use condoms during sexual encounters with prostitutes. 

This method involves flipping a coin, where heads signify permission to use protection, while tails mandate unprotected intercourse. Such arbitrary decision-making not only endangers the health of the recruits but also highlights a profound lack of responsibility and ethical conduct within the senior ranks.

The gravity of these allegations is compounded by the prevalence of HIV/Aids in Kenya, where the disease affects approximately five percent of the population, a stark contrast to the 0.2 percent prevalence rate in the UK. The report has understandably sent shockwaves through Defence leadership in the UK, prompting urgent inquiries into the matter.

Furthermore, the report sheds light on the concerning trend of soldiers engaging with prostitutes in close proximity to the British base in Nanyuki. 

Even more troubling is the revelation that such services are readily available within local barber shops, with soldiers being propositioned for ‘extra services’ following routine haircuts. One senior officer recounted his astonishment at being presented with such offers, highlighting the need for awareness among soldiers regarding the risks associated with such encounters.

Despite the issuance of a sexual health guide upon arrival in Kenya, the report indicates a concerning lapse in soldiers seeking assistance for related diseases compared to their counterparts stationed in the UK. 

Shockingly, a significant proportion of soldiers surveyed could not recall receiving sexual health advice, raising serious questions about the effectiveness of existing preventive measures.

Former Army intelligence officer Philip Ingram has strongly criticized military leadership for its apparent failure to address sexual health issues adequately. He decries the initiation ceremonies as a gross violation of ethical standards and a reflection of systemic deficiencies within the Army’s culture. 

Ingram’s sentiments underscore the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to safeguard the well-being of military personnel and uphold the values of integrity and responsibility.


Responding to the allegations, British High Commissioner to Kenya Neil Wigan acknowledges that regulations governing such practices have been significantly tightened in recent years. 

However, he questions the veracity of the report, pointing out that it relies heavily on interviews with a limited number of soldiers. While acknowledging progress in enforcing stricter rules, Wigan emphasizes the need for continued vigilance and accountability within the military establishment.

The repercussions of such misconduct extend beyond individual soldiers and threaten the operational effectiveness and reputation of the entire unit. With approximately 10,000 British troops deployed to Kenya annually for live firing exercises, the potential impact on morale and unit cohesion cannot be overstated.

In light of these alarming revelations, the UK Ministry of Defence reiterates its commitment to a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation. It stresses the prohibition of all forms of sexual activity involving the abuse of power, emphasizing the need for robust safeguards and enforcement mechanisms to prevent such misconduct from occurring in the future.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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