Language Barrier That Led Kenyan Man Working For British Army to Die by Detonation

Robert Swara Seurei, a Kenyan hired as a Locally Employed Civilian (LEC) for the British Army, died in 2007 after carrying home an explosive device believing it was a candle.

Declassified UK reported that the Kenyan had only been employed for only two days and was reporting for the first shift at the British Camp.

However, at the end of his first duty period, he carried home an explosive device believing it was a candle.

Robert is said to have placed what he believed to be a candle on a shelf in his hut, intending to use it for light, but when he lit the fuse, it detonated, causing massive injuries that resulted in his instant death.

Robert’s hut which was destroyed after an explosive device detonated


Declassified UK

Robert’s family narrated that the roof above his last stand blew off. The culmination was the corrugated metal sheets detonating skywards blowing up the Robert in the process.

The Kenyan is believed to have collected the explosive from the camp, as it had been left lying around after it failed to detonate during army training sessions.

Additionally, it was believed that the devices were left in the camp wrongfully since the corporal in charge was expected to clear out the areas after the sessions.

However, it was unclear the finer details under which the explosives were left in the area, as the British Ministry of Defence concealed the details of exactly who was largely responsible.

One of the investigators in the case revealed that Robert was not adequately briefed on how to conduct himself while around the camp before beginning his first full shift.

British media outlets further indicate that a Nepalese soldier, who did not have a proper grasp of the English language was assigned to guide Robert on his assignment, which was cited as a possible reason on what may have led to the Kenyan’s death.

“As a result a person who did not have English as a first language was briefing a Kenyan,” the investigator summarised.

The case has been previously shrouded in mystery with the details emerging after an investigative piece by a British media house.

Soldiers at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) in Nanyuki on February 27, 2024.




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