Prince Wil­liam ends tour with visit to bar­racks

Roy­alty > Prince is also soldier and colonel of the BATUK reg­i­ment, with a decade-long mil­i­tary ca­reer Se­cu­rity tight at BATUK camp in Laikipia ahead of Prince’s visit

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY NICHOLAS KOMU @Niqko­munkomu @ke.na­tion­media.com

Prince Wil­liam ended his trip to Africa with a visit to Bri­tish sol­diers and school­child­ren in Laikipia County. The Duke of Cam­bridge landed at the Ol Swara Bri­tish Army Train­ing Unit Kenya (BATUK) Camp at around 12:50pm, where he was re­ceived by Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner Nic Hai­ley.

He landed in a pri­vate chopper con­tracted from Air Tropic and donned mil­i­tary uni­form, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to tell him apart from the rest of the sol­diers. His lowkey ar­rival was char­ac­terised by a small se­cu­rity com­pris­ing three guards who kept their dis­tance, but kept a close watch through­out. As he toured around the camp, Prince Wil­liam was mostly ac­com­pa­nied by army com­man­ders or Bri­tish High Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials.

De­fence Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Ray­chelle Omamo and Laikipia Gover­nor Ndiritu Muri­ithi led the lo­cal del­e­ga­tion that met the prince.

No­tably, only lead­ers who were in­vited were al­lowed into the camp, and most had to leave be­hind their per­sonal se­cu­rity. In fact, Gover­nor Muri­ithi ar­rived in a sin­gle ve­hi­cle, with only his driver and one body­guard. Se­cu­rity at the camp was tight, with ground and aerial sur­veil­lance.

Upon ar­rival, the prince first met po­lit­i­cal lead­ers from Laikipia and Sam­buru, who got a few min­utes to in­ter­act with him. He spoke to the lead­ers sep­a­rately, giv­ing each an op­por­tu­nity to high­light key is­sues in their ar­eas of rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The lead­ers high­lighted key is­sues such as food se­cu­rity, ed­u­ca­tion and gen­eral se­cu­rity, with the prince say­ing he would help in­ter­vene where pos­si­ble. He also met Bri­tish ranch­ers who own land in Laikipia county, also dis­cussing key is­sues with them in­di­vid­u­ally.

Among the is­sues raised by the ranch­ers, the prince paid keen at­ten­tion to wildlife con­ser­va­tion ef­forts and re­la­tions with the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

This, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, was a cen­tre of fo­cus in line with his trip to Africa. The Bri­tish royal’s trip to Namibia, Tan­za­nia and Kenya was largely fo­cused on con­ser­va­tion ahead of the 2018 Il­le­gal Wildlife Trade Con­fer­ence in Lon­don hap­pen­ing in ten days’ time.

Gover­nor Muri­ithi lauded the prince’s en­gage­ment in tourism, say­ing it would go a long way in boost­ing wildlife con­ser­va­tion.

“The Prince is a cru­sader of con­ser­va­tion and his tour is largely fo­cused on that. Laikipia is a county that is home to wildlife, and this is key to us,” the gover­nor said.

At the same time, the prince in­ter­acted with Bri­tish sol­diers, get­ting up close and per­sonal with each of them. For most sol­diers, it was an ex­cit­ing mo­ment to meet with a mem­ber of the Royal fam­ily. In his en­gage­ment with the troops, he kept a mod­est pos­ture crack­ing a few jokes with the sol­diers as if he was one of them.

He then pro­ceeded to watch 1st Bat­tal­ion Ir­ish Guards Bat­tle Group, train­ing un­der BATUK, in his role as Colonel of the Reg­i­ment.

The Prince is a cru­sader of con­ser­va­tion and his tour is largely fo­cused on that. Laikipia is a county that is a home to wildlife, and this visit is key to us.” Gover­nor Ndiritu Muri­ithi

THOMAS MUKOYA | REUTERS

The Duke of Cam­bridge, Prince Wil­liam (cen­tre) talks with Ir­ish sol­diers dur­ing his visit to the 1st Bat­tal­ion, the Ir­ish Guards Bat­tle Group, train­ing un­der the Bri­tish Army Train­ing Unit Kenya (BATUK), in his role as colonel of the reg­i­ment in Laikipia yes­ter­day, as he ended his tour of Africa.

THOMAS MUKOYA | REUTERS

THOMAS MUKOYA | REUTERS

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