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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Could This Be The Reason Why Reuters Journalist Was Killed?

Trent Keegan may have been working on Rift Valley militia story, sources say

The Kenyan media does not think that the murder of a Reuters journalist in Nairobi is big news. In fact most do not think it is news at all.

It will now be interesting to see if they still hold this view as some of the possible reasons for the murder begin to emerge.

Right from the start of my enquiries in the last few days, several sources have repeated that the late New Zealand born photo journalist met his death because of a story that he was working on about the Rift Valley and historical land troubles in that part of Kenya that led to the recent post-election skirmishes in the country. Now in the last few hours I have received yet another report to the effect that the journalist got into trouble specifically because of a story he was working on connected to a mysterious arms shipment into Kenya in March to a “militia group.” (Read the story here). The “shipment” has recently been reported by a UN monitoring group as one of the violations against a UN ban on arms in the region. Although the UN report does not give details of the militia group, several sources link it to the Rift Valley in Kenya. In other words the latest report shockingly seems to confirm the earlier ones by linking the arms embargo to the Rift Valley.

The most recent information from a source claims that Mr Keegan was in contact with people who were well versed with the facts surrounding the deadly cargo and its’ destination who were too frightened to publish the information themselves.

Interestingly one report that has appeared in New Zealand newspapers says that Mr Keegan received a visit from a “security company” shortly before his disappearance and subsequent death. It is highly likely that such a visit would be from a security organization monitoring the entry and movement of illegal arms in the region.

As the Kenyan media continues to give the Keegan murder a complete “blackout”, I would like to remind Kenyan journalists of an old African proverb that says when your neighbour’s chickens are attacked by a fox, you do not ignore the news as irrelevant when your homestead is right next door.

It is absurd that any journalist in the country should happily continue with “business as usual” while totally ignoring the heinous crime against one of their own that has taken place. Scribes should be out on the streets right now demonstrating and demanding an explanation from the government. But then that is my opinion.

P.S. Of all the reports that have so far appeared on this dreadful affair, the one that appears to suggest that the killing was just part of the high incidence of crime in Nairobi was the most nauseating. Despite the overwhelming evidence that suggests that this was no ordinary crime, the report went on to mention that crime is so rampant in Nairobi that many people now refer to the Kenyan capital as Nairobbery.

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Anonymous said...


I share with you the sadness regarding the death of Keegan. More so, especially if he was in the process of investigating a matter that touches on the security of our country. But I find your condemning the Kenya journalists for not demonstrating in the streets over the matter highly disingenuous. Why? Because you want others to do the fighting while you run away and hid in foreign countries at the first opportunity. You want others to fight so that when you return with money from abroad you can enjoy in peace. If this is your strategy, you are no better than Kibaki. Kibaki sat on the sidelines when the likes of Matiba and Odinga fought for democracy, and now look who is sleeping in State House.
So, stop lecturing the Kenyan journalists from the safety of foreign lands, they have more urgent things in their minds including feeding and clothing their families!!

Anonymous said...

Trent Keegan was a photo journalist not an investigative journalist like you are trying to
Portray here.
News have emerged that, at the time of his death, Keegan was working on an investigative report about a land dispute in northern Tanzania between Maasai cattle herders and the Massachusetts-based Thomson Safaris Company, according to e-mail between the photographer and one of his colleagues. There has not been any known links between him and any arms embargo or any militia group in Rift Valley or in Kenya.
On reports that Keegan was investigating a story about land deals which had displaced people, and that his questions could have made him enemies, his father Mike Keegan denied that.
According to Trent Keegan's friend, an Irish artist Dave Redmond, he said Keegan was carrying expensive equipment when the two met at a bar in Nairobi at the night he was killed. "We left the bar together and shook hands at 9.30pm while saying goodbye. He walked to the taxi and I heard him talking to the driver that the fare [to] take him into the city centre was too much," Redmond told the Associated Press.
According to his friends, the motive of his death is likely to be robbery. There was even suggestion that he was killed by hit and run driver which has now been ruled out by the police.
Should you require further update on the case, I will be happy to post it to you.


Bobie Bristol said...

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

I stand to be corrected-but the arms story is in this week's East African.
But at least KUJ should make some noise if it really does exist.
Even the foreign envoys here should be sending protest notes rather than commenting on the amnesty issue from a biased point of view.

Dj Rik.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:33 AM - I guess you are also one of those journalists setting their minds on how to feed and cloth their children? Let me tell you that it is you and your collegues whom we trust to bring to us not just stories but mainly the truth behind these stories. This may sometimes also mean taking risks, even to your life. But if you are afraid and only occupy your thoughts with family matters, you better change your profession. It's exactly journalists like you who have tried to put sand into our eyes in reporting either 'nice' stories or even fake ones. We have complained here especially regarding the Nation during those painful weeks after the socalled General Elections - but there were others who did not dare to go into the 'mouth of the lion' like Kibera. I think especially about the famous one in K24 who being a Kikuyu and a wellknown and there easily recognizable figure preferred to send others while sitting nice and safe in the Studio but presenting their reports as his own to be public. Maybe it needs people like this Keegan to try to find out the truth, a truth every serious Kenyan journalist should also be interested in. But as I said before, this would mean also sometimes risking your life and not just think how to feed and cloth your family.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:33
I guess your right chris out to make a stand the Qs is how?.....but your also wrong that the more urgent problem is to feed your family while its a pressing issue you may as well become a slave to the system...someone once said 'give me liberty or give me death'. The insinuation that a peacful protest
for the mysterious death of a foreign journalist can endanger the ugali on your table is proof that kenya is already a failed state. We have no freedom of expression.If all the mau mau fighters thought about their families and thier stomachs we would still be under british rule. What we must ensure that our sacrifices don't end up being meaningless thats the challenge. We must not needlesly expose our selves but keeping quite is not the soltion it only postpones the pain.We need to act now and act decisively get a grip on this country or loose it forever.

Sir Alex

Sir Alex

Anonymous said...

Kwale - do you know how many killings during the last years have been 'sold' to the public as 'simple robbery' or even worse as 'some private matter' ? Just think about it. We all know that this is exactly what certain circles want us to believe especially when and if the real truth is either too painful or too scary especially when it touches internal security matters which may even reach the highest police circles. And it therefore also does not matter which issue this man was working on - fact is that he got killed and this alone should the reason enough to start a serious investigation into the background. He and his family deserve at least that. We should never again accept to be 'silenced' with some too-nice-to-be-true stories. I challenge herewith K24 to tell us the truth. I know that also JK once lost his own camera man while reporting on some hot issue. He wrote at that time how painful this was for him.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Pole for those who lost their son, friend employee etc.RIP Keegan, it's a brave ting to die in the line of duty.

Now here is the killer-maybe, just maybe, the Kenyan media is behaving like this because all death is of equal value.

I mean, many ordinary Kenyans are murdered for various reasons every day. Especially in Nairobi. How many times does the media drop everything to splash it all over the place? They are probably not giving the journalist any preferential treatment by playing dead.

Anonymous said...

Here is another hot issue for any serious journalist and mainly K24 (to keep JK busy):

It was just confirmed by Scotland Yard that they received new evidence in connection with the Julie Ward murder case. Julie Ward's father (who spent more than 1 Million $ upto now to try to bring the real killers behind bars) said that it would not bring back his daughter but that he feels he owes it to her to at least have her killers face justice. For the first time he has been able to convince Scotland Yard to carry out some DNA-testing on the two main suspects and he also found two witnesses willing to testify. See also an article by Paul Redfern in the today's Nation.

You may not remember but there were always rumours that one of Moi's sons and also Biwott son was involved in this. It seems, Julie Ward had met one of them during a function at the British Embassy and was invited to spend a weekend at the Massai Mara Lodge. It has been reported that Moi's son (I think it was Philipp) had been at the Lodge that weekend and also Biwott's son had been seen there.

This was also the reason why this case was never really investigated.

I hope, Chris (and also K24) will keep us informed on any further development and that they are not too scared to dig into the mud of these two powerful families (Moi and Biwott).

It was and still is dangerous to deal with them. Too many people who have tried in the past have paid with their lives already.

But finally solving the Julie Ward case would really demonstrate that Kenya has changed. Won't you agree?

And then others should follow, like the one regarding Robert Ouko, Bishop Muge and many more.

Kemmy Creations said...

Too many theories about his death, cant we have a one true and clear version so that we know ahts happening.

Anonymous said...


Am sorry for the journalist. May God rest his sould in eternal peace.

But you Chris - You have just become a speculative journalist. Maybe you are right, may you are not. But my main question is - if the arms story ( unfortunately its in the east african), then the more you should NOT SUPPORT mungiki, SLDF, rapists, post election murderer etc in this blog. The more you should advise you friends Phil, Taabu, Ivy and mrembo who have access to orange house to tell Rao to let the police do their work. There should be no compromise, talk etc. The more we keep on sending two signal from the same government - the more we alienate justice and entrench these thugs and killers. Murderers have no right of life, just like these militias. I rest my case. Chris please hear my very humble appeal.


Anonymous said...

The loss of life under whatever circumstances is tragic enough.

What we need however is to extricate ourselves from the cycle that breeds and feeds the never ending loop of

anxiety - > fear -> unsubstantiated information -> speculation -> paranoia -> and then more or elevated anxiety ->

clearly to break from this we need more authoritative/investigative reporting backed up with facts, references, pictures etc as kumekucha writers have many times endeavoured to do (sometimes under much personal threat and risk) as well collective good will so as not stifle effective journalism.

i pay tribute to all kenyans in whatever profession, who value quality processes, output and discussion, and have sacrificed or invested any level of effort (time, money etc) and sometimes risked in order to make Kenya a better place

be safe guys, we need each other to make a better kenya


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