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Maimed Kenyans win wargames payout

LONDON, England -- Kenyan tribespeople bereaved or maimed by British Army explosives left on their land have been awarded 4.5 million ($7.1) in an out-of-court settlement.

Lawyers for the 228 Masai and Samburu tribespeople alleged their clients were injured by munitions left over from British Army wargames.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman told Reuters news agency the payment had been agreed after two days of mediation by the Central Executive of Dispute Resolution.

She said: "The Ministry of Defence agreed to pay on a limited liability basis 4.5 million pounds' compensation for all 228 claims already notified," she said.

Most of the victims were children who accidentally detonated unexploded bombs while herding their flocks on sites two sites used for military exercises, the Kenyans' lawyers had alleged.

Lawyer Martyn Day said he was "absolutely delighted" by the payout.

"We represent people who have been blinded, have lost limbs and have suffered the most appalling internal injuries by these bombs," he told the UK's Press Association. "They have had the most miserable of existences since their accidents.

The cash will be used to help pay for the medical needs of victims and to ease their suffering.

James Ole Legei, from Osiligi, the organisation spearheading the compensation fight said: "The immediate difference this money will make will be massive.

"A lot of victims are still suffering problems. Now they will be able to receive proper medical care. It is a very happy day for all of us."

The training grounds are used by other armies as well as the British, but the lawyers have said they were satisfied that a significant amount of the ammunition left strewn around was

British-made and British-fired.

The British army had denied it left any unexploded ammunition behind after training sessions, but had agreed in principle to pay compensation if it could be shown to be responsible for the injuries.




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