The British military has launched an urgent investigation into a bar brawl involving its troops on exercise in Kenya, in which several soldiers were admitted to hospital, officials said Tuesday.
The local Daily Nation newspaper said about 200 soldiers were involved in the fight in a hotel in Nanyuki in central Kenya where British troops often train, and at least five people had to be airlifted to a Nairobi hospital.
« We can confirm that an incident involving British military personnel, in a secure location in Nanyuki, resulted in some injuries on Friday evening, » a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said in London.
« The incident was dealt with by the British army, and was over within 20 minutes.
« The British army is sorry for this incident, and takes such matters extremely seriously. Military police have already started an urgent investigation. »
She said « quite a lot of people » were involved in the incident, which took place in a bar in a compound, but said the exact number was subject to the investigation.
The Ministry of Defence also had no details on the number of personnel hurt, but said there were no life-threatening injuries, and that everyone had now been discharged from hospital.
« All those who are found to fall short of the army’s high standards or who are found to have committed an offence under the Armed Forces Act are dealt with administratively (up to and including discharge) or through the discipline process, as appropriate, » the spokeswoman added.
The Daily Nation reported local police chief Joshua Lutukai as saying that the soldiers had broken windows, bottles, glasses and furniture during the fight.
It said Irish soldiers were pitted against Scottish troops in a brawl sparked by taunts of bad driving following a vehicle accident. Riot police were called but a British army unit soon took control, it reported.