The 1st Battalion Irish Guards and the Band of the Coldstream Guards provided an immaculate Guard of Honour on Horse Guards Parade for the visit of the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Defence for Kenya, Eugene Wamalwa, today.
Eugene Wamalwa is the guest of the Secretary of State for UK Defence, Ben Wallace. The two Defence Secretaries will hold talks today on bilateral cooperation and partnership on defence matters between our two countries.
Kenya is the UK’s closest defence partner in East Africa, with UK and Kenyan Forces working closely and training together at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK).
The Captain of the Guard invited Eugene Wamalwa to inspect the Guard of Honour and the Band of the Coldstream Guards performed an impressive programme of music.
The ceremony took place in one of the most iconic locations in London. Picturesquely framed by No 10 Downing St, the Scottish Office, The Old Admiralty and St James’s Park, Horse Guards Parade is at the heart of Whitehall and is the official entrance to all the Royal Palaces.
Just two and a half weeks ago these same soldiers were trooping their Colour (parading with their exquisitely embroidered regimental flag) on this same auspicious parade ground for the Platinum Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Parade.
What is BATUK?
The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) is a training support unit of the British Army and provides a superbly challenging environment for light role infantry battle group exercises, forward operating bases and engineering.
10,000 British Troops take part in exercises in Kenya annually on six to eight week exercises. Kenyan soldiers are offered training opportunities in the UK and with the British Troops stationed in Kenya.
Kenyan forces regularly take part in joint exercises with the British Army, helping Kenya to combat the Al Shabaab insurgency threatening their border with Somalia.
British forces work alongside Kenyan forces in the UN Peacekeeping mission in Somalia as well as aiding Kenyan police and border guards in anti-terrorism training.
The Royal Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers also deploy to Kenya to carry out civil engineering projects and provide health care to the civilian community.
BATUK provides the perfect training environment for British Army soldiers taking part in Operation Corded in several of Africa’s most threatened National Parks. This is a global fight to prevent the international crime of the illegal wildlife trade and poaching.
British Troops are said to contribute £58 million to the economy each year.