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August 19, 2009

Arrest made over murder of UK gemstone expert in Kenya

Arrest made over murder of UK gemstone expert in Kenya

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kenya
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Police in Kenya have arrested a man thought to be the organiser of an attack by up to 30 men armed with clubs and spears that killed internationally renowned Scottish gemstone expert Campbell Bridges.

Voi, Kenya
Image: Acntx.

The 71-year-old was ambushed last week near Voi where he owns several mines. The attack left two security guards badly injured. Bridges’ family had received death threats for years over a dispute over access to his gemstone mines.

Cquote1.svg “The police are still pursuing other suspects who were armed with crude weapons during the attack.” Cquote2.svg

—Regional police chief Herbert Khaemba

Regional police chief Herbert Khaemba anounced today: “The suspect believed to be the main organiser of the brutal murder was arrested by the police at the Kenyan border town of Taveta in hiding. The police are still pursuing other suspects who were armed with crude weapons during the attack.”

The arrested man is reported to be the chairman of a group of local small-scale miners. He is thought to have been intending to flee to neighbouring Tanzania. The area’s minerals have been disputed ever since Bridges discovered the locally unique stone Tsavorite in the 1960s.



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August 13, 2009

British gemstone expert killed by mob in Voi, Kenya

British gemstone expert killed by mob in Voi, Kenya

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Tsavorite Gem which Bridges discovered

A mob of 20 men have killed a leading British gemologist in the town of Voi in Kenya. Campbell Bridges who was born in Scotland was killed at his 600-acre property located within a national park. The attack is reported to be linked to a 3 year dispute over control of the gemstone mines owned by Mr. Bridges.

Police reported that Bridges was driving his pick-up around his land when he was ambushed by 20 men wielding homemade clubs and spears as well as bows and arrows. Bridges fought off the mob with the help of his son and four Kenyan staff. He was transported to hospital but later died. No one else was seriously injured in the attack.

Bruce Bridges, Campbell’s son spoke to reporters about his ordeal. He spoke of how he fled to the capital Nairobi with his father’s body. “As we drove towards our mining camp we found huge thorn trees blocking the road. Eight men with machetes, spears, clubs, knives, bows and arrows appeared, shouting, ‘We’re going to kill you all!’ Then more people came down the mountain like ants — 20 or 30 of them” he said.

Campbell was renowned in the gemstone business. He worked as a special consultant for jewelers Tiffany & Co. He is also credited with the discovery of tsavorite and also involved in the discovery of tanzanite.



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April 12, 2008

Over 60 dead in Kenya cholera outbreak, state issues alert

Over 60 dead in Kenya cholera outbreak, state issues alert

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

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State health officials in Kenya issued an alert Thursday after an outbreak of cholera killed over 60 people in the last five months. All health personnel have been advised to actively monitor patients with diarrhea, and the government issued a ban on preparing and eating food in public gatherings.

Nyanza Province has been the area hardest hit by the cholera outbreak in Kenya.
Image: Acntx.

Nyanza Province, with 750 infections and 45 deaths, has felt the brunt of the outbreak. Over 1,200 cases have been reported in the provinces of Nyanza, Rift Valley, North Eastern and Western. According to Agence France-Presse, officials have reported 45 people dead in Nyanza Province, 12 in North Eastern Province and seven in Rift Valley Province. Health officials have stated that the actual number of deaths due to the outbreak could be higher due to under reporting.

Cquote1.svg The mass movement of people during the post-election crisis may also have contributed to the outbreak of the disease as people found themselves in areas with inadequate water and sanitation facilities. Cquote2.svg

—SK Sharif, senior deputy director of health services in Nyanza Province

SK Sharif, senior deputy director of health services in Nyanza, commented on contributing factors to the outbreak: “The mass movement of people during the post-election crisis may also have contributed to the outbreak of the disease as people found themselves in areas with inadequate water and sanitation facilities”.

Health workers are working to contain the outbreak, and are focusing efforts on areas affected by violence related to the December elections. Suba, Migori, Homabay, Rongo, Siaya, Kisumu, Bondo, Nyando, Kisii, Wajir, Mandera, Naivasha, Nakuru and Bunyala are among the worst affected districts.

The possibility of a disease outbreak in Kenya was previously raised by health officials, specifically in camps where hundreds of thousands of displaced people reside. Revenge killings, tribal fighting and upheaval following the December elections in Kenya has displaced many in the country.

Titus Mung’ou, spokesman for Kenya Red Cross Society, told Agence France-Presse “We are trying to reduce the prevalence of the mix up that may happen by scrutinising food donations that are brought in the camps, but mostly we are ensuring that all the water is well treated”.

In a news conference Thursday in Nairobi, Director of Medical Service Dr. James Nyikal said that if urgent measures were not undertaken to control the outbreak, it could become much worse. “Most deaths occurred at home or on the way to hospital,” said Dr. Nyikal. Medicines worth KSh17.3 million (GBP 2.4 million) and other equipment worth KSh700,000 (GBP 5,700) has been sent to the affected areas. The Kenyan government has allocated KSh38 million (GBP 11.75 million) to contain the outbreak.

Cquote1.svg Boiling drinking water or treating water with chlorine and practising good toilet manners are necessary to avoid contamination. Cquote2.svg

—Dr. David Okello, World Health Organization Country Director

On Friday the Health Ministry requested aid from the United Nations Children’s Fund, and Dr. Nyikal stated: “Health workers are a problem and we have written to Unicef, requesting assistance. Already some staff have been dispatched”. Dr. Nyikal voiced concerns over high risk areas: “We are particularly concerned by risk areas such as eating premises and bus stops in major towns such as Busia, Kisumu, Kericho, Nakuru, Naivasha, Nairobi, Voi, Mtito Andei and Mombasa”.

World Health Organization Country Director Dr. David Okello emphasized the importance of hygiene, stating: “We need to emphasise the importance of water safety and the public needs to adopt the measures of keeping water safe.” Dr. Okello stressed that “Boiling drinking water or treating water with chlorine and practising good toilet manners are necessary to avoid contamination”.

Cholera is a waterborne disease and causes serious diarrhea and vomiting. The disease can be fatal if it is not treated within 24 hours. Spread of the disease can be prevented by avoiding contaminated drinking water, and practicing proper hand washing before touching food. Southern Sudan also reported an increase in cholera cases recently.



Related news

  • Cholera outbreak hits Angola” — Wikinews, May 18, 2006
  • “West African cholera claims more than 500 lives, more deaths feared” — Wikinews, September 1, 2005

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Cholera and 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis on Wikipedia.
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