Journalists Killed  |  Kenya

Bernard Wesonga

The Star

March 30, 2013, in Mombasa, Kenya

Wesonga's housemate found him dead at his house on March 31, 2013, with blood on his nose and mouth, according to news reports and Deputy Editor Charles Kerich who spoke to CPJ. A correspondent for the private daily The Star, Wesonga, 27, had been with friends at a local pub in the coastal city of Mombasa the night before and had left for home at around 10 p.m., local journalists said.

News accounts reported subsequently that an autopsy report had revealed that Wesonga had died of an undetected hole in his heart. But the journalist's relatives and colleagues said they were suspicious of the findings and demanded a probe into his death.

Wesonga had told his colleagues the night before he died that he had received anonymous threats by phone and text message in connection with his reports on alleged corruption, local journalists said. Wesonga had written at least two sensitive stories in connection to which he had received threats, his relatives and colleagues said. One story concerned allegations of unlawful shipment and sale of fertilizer that had exceeded its expiration date, and another was a piece on alleged illegal car imports made through Mombasa.

Wesonga's immediate supervisor, Chief Correspondent Maureen Mudi, said the journalist was a hard-working reporter who had "a lot of potential and never disappointed" in his coverage. She said Wesonga had worked for the paper for a year and had undertaken several investigative stories.


Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.


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