Kenya: Journalist murdered following police threats

English PEN is shocked by the murder of Weekly Citizen journalist Francis Nyaruri.


According to our information, Nyayuri disappeared on 15 January 2009, and his decapitated body was found on 29 January. English PEN is deeply concerned by reports that, prior to his death, Nyaruri was threatened by local police officers following publication of articles revealing police malpractice. We are calling on the Kenyan authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into Nyaruri’s murder as a matter of urgency and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.


The following is an alert issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on 30 January 2009:

New York, January 30, 2009– Reporter Francis Nyaruri was found decapitated and with his hands bound on Thursday [29 January 2009] in a forest in western Kenya. Nyaruri, who wrote for the private Weekly Citizen under the pen name Mong’are Mokua, had been missing since January 15, according to local journalists and relatives.


“We send our deepest sympathies to Francis Nyaruri’s family and colleagues,” said CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, Tom Rhodes. “We call on the police to pursue all possible leads and ensure that the perpetrators of this hideous crime are brought to justice swiftly.”


Nyanza deputy police Chief Larry Kieng confirmed to reporters that Nyaruri’s body was found in a thicket in Kodera Forest, Nyanza Province, on Thursday, decapitated with hands tied behind his back and marks on his body. Nyaruri’s wife, Josephine Kwamboka, identified her husband at a Kisii hospital, according to local reports. Kieng said a team of senior officers had been dispatched to Nyamira to investigate the murder, the private daily The Standard reported.


Prior to his disappearance, Nyaruri had written a series of articles that exposed financial scams and other malpractice by the local police department, local journalists told CPJ. The journalists said Nyaruri had told them of unspecified threats by police officers in the area for articles he had written in the Weekly Citizen.


Nyaruri left his residence in Nyamira at about 7:30 am on January 15 and traveled 19 miles (30 kilometers) to Kisii to purchase construction materials, local journalists reported. Kwamboka told reporters that she had spoken to him at 11 a.m. the same day but did not hear from him again.


Francis Nyaruri is the second journalist killed in Kenya in the past year. In May 2008, New Zealand photographer Trent Keegan was killed by unknown assailants in Nairobi.




Please send appeals:


• Expressing shock at the murder of journalist Francis Nyaruri, who disappeared on 15 January 2009 and whose decapitated body was found on 29 January;
• Expressing deep concern at reports that Nyaruri was killed after receiving threats from local police officers following publication of articles on police malpractice, suggesting that he may have been killed for exercising his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Kenya is party;
• Calling on the Kenyan authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the murder as a matter of urgency, and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.


Send your appeals to:


Hon. Mwai Kibaki C.G.H. M.P
President of Kenya
PO Box 30510-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: 254-20-313600
Salutation: Your Excellency


Commissioner of Police
Major General Mohamed Hussein Ali, M.G.H.
Commissioner of Police
PO Box 30083, Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: 254-20-240955
Messages may also be sent via the Kenya police website:
Salutation: Dear Commissioner

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Kenyan ambassador to the UK:


His Excellency Joseph Muchemi
45 Portland Place
Fax: 020 7323 6717

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