1950-1959 | Crimes against women | Kenya | Prisoners murdered | Rape | Torture

Officer in Kenya’s colonial police complains of a culture of covering up abuses and torture

23 December 1954 Duncan McPherson, Assistant Commissioner of Kenya’s colonial police, was a rare exception to the norm of complete British indifference to the suffering of ordinary Kenyans. Britain was then engaged in a brutal campaign to crush the Mau Mau insurgency, which aimed to bring an end to colonial rule. Thousands were detained in…

1950-1959 | Collective punishments | Kenya

Archbishop of York backs collective punishment against Kenyan villages

26 November 1952 On 26 November 1952, Dr. Cyril Garbett, the Archbishop of York, speaking in the House of Lords, backed the British government’s use of collective punishment against villages and often entire districts deemed to be ‘uncooperative’ with Britain’s counter-insurgency campaign to crush the anti-colonial Mau Mau rebellion. During the next four years the…

1950-1959 | Bombing villages | Kenya | RAF crimes

RAF starts Kenya bombing campaign – six million bombs dropped

18 November 1953 On 18 November 1953, the RAF commenced a massive carpet bombing operation against Mau Mau insurgents opposed to British rule in Kenya. Code-named Operation Mushroom, and deploying enormous quad engine Lincoln heavy bombers, the campaign was to see 900 sorties over the next two years dropping six million bombs, weighing 50,000 tons,…

1950-1959 | Kenya | Prisoners murdered

British captain tortures and executes suspect rebels

14 June 1953 At around 6 pm on 14 June 1953, Captain Gerald Griffiths began to interrogate two forestry workers suspected of taking up arms against British rule in Kenya. Earlier that day, as Griffiths had been leading a company of the King’s African Rifles into the Chuka region of Kenya to flush out Mau…

1950-1959 | Kenya

British general advises against prosecution of Kenyan militia

9 January 1955 On 9 January 1955, General Sir George Erskine, commanding British forces in Kenya, advised the War Office not to prosecute any Home Guard loyalist forces for murder, torture and other war crimes. ‘I do not like.’ he explained, ‘arrangements by which loyalists charged and arrested at present will have their cases proceeded…

1950-1959 | Kenya | Torture

25 JUNE

BRITAIN APPROVES THE ‘DILUTION TECHNIQUE’ OF TORTURE IN KENYA [ 25 June 1957 ] On 25 June 1957, Kenya’s governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, wrote to Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Colonial Secretary, seeking his approval for the ‘dilution technique’ – a method of subjecting detainees to gruesome physical torture without leaving long lasting marks or causing permanent…

1950-1959 | Kenya

8 APRIL

JOMO KENYATTA SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS HARD LABOUR AFTER JUDGE IS BRIBED [ 8 April 1953 ] On 8 April 1953, Jomo Kenyatta, the moderate Kenyan civil rights activist and president of the Kenyan African Union, was sentenced to seven years hard labour to be followed by permanent exile to a remote northern area of…