Kenyan Journalists Who Died in The Line of Duty

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Hos Maina and Antony Macharia.

Many journalists have had to risk their lives at some point in the course of performing their duties. 

Though renowned Citizen TV news anchor Jeff Koinange maintains that no story is worth dying for, a few journalists have paid the ultimate price.  

The following Kenyan journalists were reported victims of the news leads and stories they pursued.

Hos Maina and Anthony Macharia

Two months prior to the Battle of Mogadishu, four journalists were stoned to death. Apparently, two of them were Kenyan, Hos Maina, and Anthony Macharia as reported by The New York Times.

Hos Maina and Anthony Macharia.

The two other journalists were Don Eldon, a foreign journalist who resided in Kenya, and Hansi Krauss, a German.

Early July 12, 1993, American gunships under the UN raided a command post allied to Mohammed Farah Aideed, a Somali warlord and later self-declared president.

The air attack claimed several lives but within a few hours, four journalists were reported dead.

The publication reported that an hour after the 17-minute attack, Aideed’s men drove to the hotel Macharia and Maina resided in, offering to show them the extent of the attack.

They left the hotel in a convoy of several cars but only a one made its way back to the compound with its occupants still alive.

As protocol dictated, all the journalists wore bulletproof vests. Unlucky for them, they died anyway.

The New York Times reported that Maina was never seen entering the compound but Don Eldon was seen attempting to jump onto a fleeing Reuters truck.

Unfortunately, he was knocked off by an angry mob outside the hotel compound and chased into the streets, as Macharia followed.

Don’s body was discovered later that day, while the bodies of Macharia and Maina were found the following day. Krauss’s body was discovered a day after Maina’s. He was shot multiple times.

Krauss’s killers demanded a ransom for his body and his camera. The publication stated that when his colleagues checked his camera, it was established that Krauss repeatedly snapped the shutter as he died.

John Kituyi

On April 30, 2015, John Kituyi, editor and publisher of Mirror Weekly, a small publication based in Eldoret, was walking home when he was attacked and killed by two men armed with a blunt object.

Former editor and publisher of Mirror Weekly, John Kituyi.
Former editor and publisher of Mirror Weekly, John Kituyi.

According to Daily Nation, Kituyi was murdered at around 7.30 pm in somewhere between Country Lodge Club and his Pioneer Estate home.

The daily reported that Kituyi’s phone was confiscated by his killers. 

Kituyi initially served as the Eldoret bureau chief for The Standard before he established his own publication.

One of Kituyi’s final articles featured an ICC witness who mysteriously vanished. 

The story he was working on detailed the disappearance of a key witness, Meshack Yebei.

Francis Nyaruri

On January 30, 2009, The Standard reported that Francis Nyaruri’s decapitated body was discovered at the edge of Kodero Forest, on January 29, 2009, two weeks after he disappeared. 

His hands were tied, his eyes plucked out and a section of his jaw disfigured prior to his murder. Nyaruri’s death, however, faded after it was alleged that a policeman was behind his demise.

Nyaruri, under the pseudonym, Mong’are Mokua, wrote extensively of corruption within the police service in Nyamira County on the Weekly Citizen.

Former Weekly Citizen scribe Francis Nyaruri
Former Weekly Citizen scribe Francis Nyaruri

It was reported that prior to his death, Nyaruri had switched his attention to a construction project for police recruits which allegedly benefited senior officers.

Samuel Nduati

On Sunday, October 27, 2000, Radio Citizen Business Editor Samuel Nduati was brutally murdered in his home.

According to a report by Daily Nation, Ndwati was shot using a silenced gun. He was robbed of money, TV, a VCR, radio, and clothes.

The 41-year-old had established himself as a business journalist, which earned him a career at Nation Media Group and Royal Media Services, which owns Radio Citizen.

Before his demise, Nduati worked on a number of articles pertaining to corruption at the Coffee Board of Kenya. 

Daily Nation reported that Nduati’s murder was never linked directly to his work about the coffee industry, though some of his colleagues attributed his death to his work.

Dennis Otieno

On September 8, 2016, Citizen Digital reported the death of photojournalist Dennis Otieno, who was based in Kibomet, Trans Nzoia County.

Otieno was shot using an AK-47 assault rifle while in his house, according to the publication.

His wife, however, revealed to journalists that one of the people who committed the act was a close friend of Otieno.

She stated that the armed men repeatedly demanded pictures from her husband and when he tried to defend himself, they shot him. 

The thugs then went also ransacked the house.

Citizen Digital reported that it was unclear what Otieno might have captured in his cameras that pushed the young photojournalist to his death.

Joseph Masha

The Standard reported the death of one of its scribes, Joseph Masha, who collapsed and died on September 1, 2016.

The publication announced that Masha’s postmortem established no signs of toxicity and therefore, his death was suspicious.

Following his demise, it was alleged that Masha was most likely poisoned during a meeting with a legislator.

Masha’s family alleged that the meeting had been held on a Thursday, two days before his death, contradicting the MP who claimed it was on a Wednesday, as reported by The Standard.

Prior to his stint with The Standard as their Kilifi correspondent, Masha first worked with the Ministry of ICT in Lamu and Kilifi. 

Former Standard scribe Joseph Masha.
Former The Standard scribe Joseph Masha.

According to the publication, he often went back home with a brown envelope filled with money whenever he met legislators. 

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