Last month, a team from the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) rescued 56 civilians in the town of Chogoria from a forest blaze on the eastern side of Mount Kenya.
The BATUK soldiers and locally employed civilians were tasked on the 26th February to evacuate civilians from the town of Chogoria to safety.
For four days, park rangers and fire fighters had been tackling the blaze which has devastated areas of the Mount Kenya National Park when an early morning called was made which requested assistance from BATUK to ensure the local population’s safety.
At 4:00 am, the team prepared their vehicles and safety equipment, before moving to liaise with the emergency services already on site.
They were met at Chogoria Gate by park ranger George Ombuki who was controlling the incident. The team then drove to Chogoria.
After around 7 hours hard work the team had completed their mission. Mr Ombuki thanked all the personnel involved who were physically and mentally drained but pleased to have been able to help. The BATUK Team eventually returned back to Nyati Barracks at 10:30 pm after a difficult but rewarding mission.
According to BATUK, “the task went extremely smoothly and with the minimum of fuss the endangered civilians were loaded onto the British Army trucks, provided with protective equipment and driven swiftly from danger.”
Speaking after the rescue mission, Corporal Limbu said: “The fire was absolutely raging – there were plumes of smoke and the smell of the smoke was intoxicating.”
Despite the danger, BATUK were “only too happy to help out” with Corporal Mather saying: “it was a privilege to be asked to help out the highly professional Kenyan emergency services.”