Despite the armistice agreement which brought the First World War in Europe on November 11, 1918, German troops in Africa continued to fight until they received news of the armistice and surrendered on 25 November 1918.
This brought the First World War in East Africa, one hundred years ago today.
In East Africa, thousands of brave local people who had worked as porters for both sides lost their lives. Transporting supplies on foot to the fighting troops proved very dangerous with the transportation route between Voi and Taveta particularly perilous. Many died from causes including malnutrition, dehydration and disease.
To mark the end of hostilities in East Africa, the UK High Commissioner to Kenya and German Ambassador Annett Günther travelled to Taita Taveta to pay their respects to all those who lost their lives in that conflict on both sides.
Writing in a joint op-ed in The Star newspaper, Nic Hailey said: “That we should take this trip together should come as no surprise; one hundred years later, the United Kingdom and Germany stand together as close partners and friends, working together around the world, towards a shared future which is safer, more secure and more prosperous,” UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey said in a joint op-ed published by the Star website today.
Mr Hailey also used the article to reflect on military personnel fighting in today’s conflicts as well as the civilians living through them, and highlights the role both the UK and Germany are playing to help bring peace and prosperity to Kenya, including across the border in Somalia.
“Our collective support is more than just warm words. The United Kingdom, through the British Peace Support Team, is providing training to the Kenyan Defence Forces, and other regional forces, on issues ranging from mission leadership to gender based violence.
“The UK is also supporting Kenya’s security forces to respond to the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the use of which has increased by around 300 per cent in Somalia since 2015.
“These devices result in military and civilian casualties, ruining lives. The UK has trained over 1,000 military and police personnel from East Africa in identifying and destroying IEDs, and continues to provide this support through the UK-funded Counter-IED wing of the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Embakasi,” Mr Hailey said.