HC Deb 09 December 1953 vol 521 cc1968-70
32. Mr. Edelman

sked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what success has been achieved by the bombing operations, conducted under his general authority, against suspected members of Mau Mau

76 and 77. Sir R. Acland

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he will publish now, and hereafter at regular intervals, details of all raids carried out by British aircraft in Kenya, giving the number and type of aircraft engaged, the number, weight and kind of bombs dropped, the nature of target and the estimated casualties;

(2) whether any security ban has yet been placed upon the sending out from Kenya of news and details about raids carried out by British aircraft

Mr. Lyttelton

Bombing by Harvard aircraft has been carried out regularly in the prohibited areas since April. Up to 5th December, Lincoln bombers had attacked five targets; in each case, the bombing was directed accurately against a specified target, and the results were most effective. Captured terrorists have confirmed that casualties have been inflicted, but the number is not known. Air action has also driven numbers of terrorists out of the forest into the Native Reserves, where they have been successfully dealt with.

I am not aware of any ban on the publication of reports of raids by the Press. Details of operations are usually issued weekly, and I am asking the Governor and the Commander-in-Chief to consider the inclusion of the additional information required by the hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland), in so far as security considerations permit it.

Mr. Edelman

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how a Lincoln bomber, or even a Harvard bomber, flying at either 3,000 feet or even 300 feet, can identify a black man, black woman or even a black child in forest conditions; and, in those circumstances, will he not do something in order to prevent an indiscriminate policy of applying the death penalty to people in the forest and prohibited areas who may even be trespassing or may even have been abducted there by suspected Mau Mau terrorists?

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Gentleman should not address questions to me which are based on a number of unsupported hypotheses. I have said already that these five raids were made on specified targets which were spotted by reconnaissance and aerial photographs, and the general tendency of the question is to give an entirely wrong impression.

Mr. Swingler

Can the Minister tell the House what was the weight of bombs used in these raids, and also what was the character of the target that was specified?

Mr. Lyttelton

I cannot give accurately the weight of bombs, but I think I am right in saying that the largest bomb carried by these aircraft is about 1,000 1b. I should think that 500 lb. bombs were the ones probably used. The targets are terrorists' hideouts, if that is the right expression, which have been found by reconnaissance and aerial photography.

Mr. Gower

Is the principle upon which this bombing was carried out the same or different from that of the bombing carried out in Malaya when the previous Government were in power?

Mr. Lyttelton

It is exactly the same, although it is carried out with a different type of aircraft.

Mr. Edelman

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I wish to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Motion for the Adjournment.

44. Mr. Edelman

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far the unauthorised presence of a person in a prohibited area of Kenya confers thereby on the security forces the right to kill such a person

Mr. Lyttelton

This matter is governed by Emergency Regulation 22A (7) which reads: Any authorised officer may within a prohibited area take such measures including means dangerous or fatal to human life, as he considers necessary to ensure that no person prohibited from entering into or remaining or being in a prohibited area shall enter into or remain or be in such area.

Mr. Edelman

Is it not the case that this bombing also brings an indiscriminate death penalty to those who may be in the prohibited areas even though their offence is merely that of trespassing? In these circumstances, will not the right hon. Gentleman considerably qualify the order as he has at present stated it?

Mr. Lyttelton

The tendentious word in the hon. Gentleman's supplementary is "indiscriminate." I have repeatedly told the House that there is no indiscriminate bombing in the forest areas.