A British soldier who handled ‘Stakeknife’, an infamous IRA informer, also gave spy tips to east African wildlife rangers whose shoot-to-kill anti-poaching policy killed dozens of innocent Kenyans, it has emerged.
The Kenya Wildlife Service, which operated a shoot-to-kill policy against ivory hunters, was advised by the senior British military intelligence officer intimately involved in the conflict in the north of Ireland.
According to ‘Declassified UK’, Colonel Colin Parr visited Kenya between tours in the north of Ireland where he reportedly ran ‘Stakeknife’ – a top informer for the British at the heart of the Provisional IRA.
The double agent was allowed to kidnap, torture and murder innocent republicans and other suspected informers in order to keep his cover.
In 1985, the Queen of England awarded Parr an OBE for his “distinguished service in Northern Ireland”. And by the early 1990s, he was head of British army intelligence in the province.
It has been revealed that while rising through the ranks, Parr went on a reconnaissance trip in April 1990 to the Masai Mara. There he became involved in a ‘conservation’ campaign in which dozens of innocent Kenyans, wrongly suspected of poaching, were murdered.
At the time, safari tourism was critical to Kenya’s economy. In a report found at the UK National Archives, Parr encouraged the recruitment of local informers and their protection from reprisals.
“There is a pressing need for operations which are mounted as a result of informant information (and there are many) to be conducted in a manner which does not prejudice the security of the source,” he advised.
“Recently two informants were shot dead as a result of an insecure link between their information and a consequent operation.”
Parr suggested recruiting informers from “villages where bandits have attacked or intimidated and where there may be resentment.”
Some of the poachers came from the large Somali community whose land falls inside Kenya.
Parr also suggested the Kenyan agents receive night vision surveillance gear, training at a spy school in Kent and a six month visit from another army intelligence officer.
He advised: “Detection/arrest/kill ratios only have a prospect of major improvement if they can be based on pre-emptive intelligence.”
Reacting to the finding that Parr visited Kenya, Belfast-based lawyer Kevin Winters said: “It should come as no surprise that a very high ranking member of the military intelligence services may have been ‘rewarded’ in this way for their work during the conflict.”
His firm, KRW Law, represents families affected by the Stakeknife mission, which Winters said entailed “the oversight of agents and informants who were involved in killing UK citizens, some of whom may in turn have been informants or agents themselves.
“In any normal democracy people who were at the helm of this type of ‘intelligence policing’ might have been indicted for war crimes.”
Winters commented that Parr’s Kenya trip “chimes with Britain’s colonial past and if nothing else confirms the systemic exchange of military strategic thinking and resources between the former colonies.
“The North of Ireland in many ways was treated as a colonial outpost when it came to counter terrorism strategy.”