PBI-Kenya saddened and shocked by the murder of Kiambu forest and wetlands defender Joannah Stutchbury in Nairobi

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On July 19, the Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project posted: “We are saddened and shocked by the murder of environmental defender Joannah Stutchbury, who was killed on 15 July just outside her home.”

The Guardian reports: “A prominent environment activist has been shot dead near her home in Kenya, after receiving multiple death threats following her campaign against the development of wetlands in a national park.”

“Joannah Stutchbury, 67, was killed at 10pm local time on Thursday as she returned to her home on the outskirts of Nairobi. Friends said she had stopped her car to clear branches blocking her driveway when she was shot several times. Neighbours found her body in the car with the engine still running and valuables still in the vehicle, suggesting the attack was not a robbery.”

That article adds: “Stutchbury had vocally opposed attempts by powerful local businessmen to build on the nearby Kiambu forest and had received death threats in the past.”

The Standard also notes: “Her actions [to protect the Kiambu forest on the outskirts of the Nairobi] was not only local. Gitathiru, one of five perennial tributaries of the Nairobi River, is located here. These tributaries form the Nairobi Water Basin and are a critical source of fresh water for the Thwake Dam, 200km away in Kitui County.”

PBI-Kenya highlights the statement signed by more than forty organizations.

It says: “She never looked the other way when she witnessed illegal operations in Kiambu forest. We believe that this is why she was killed. …As long as environmentalists are not protected, we will be forced to attend new funerals.”

The statement also notes: “Threats to active environmental protectors have claimed the lives of the courageous ivory investigator Esmond Bradley Martin, Esther Mwikali, Sengwer Robert Kiprotich, and forced Phyllis Omido and other environmental defenders into hiding recently.”

The full statement can be read here.

A virtual vigil will take place today to honour the life of Joannah Stutchbury.

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