, WUNDANYI, Kenya, Aug 20 – Police have arrested the main suspect believed to have organised the killing of Campbell Bridges, the gemstone dealer who was murdered last week.
Taita-Taveta divisional police commander Herbert Khaemba told Capital News that: “The suspect was arrested on Wednesday and is being interrogated.”
He said the man had been implicated by some of the witnesses in the incident: “Some of who were wounded during the attack.”
“This is the man we have been looking for; we had received information that he is the mastermind of the killing,” he said.
“He (the suspect) will certainly help us get other people he worked with in organising the killing of Bridges because we have overwhelming evidence that he participated.”
The deceased Scotsman was the founder and owner of First Green Garnet Mining Company and was killed by a group of people who witnesses said were armed with bows and arrows, according to police.
“The report we have is that he was attacked on Tuesday evening (last week) as he drove back to his company. Some three people who worked with him were also wounded,” the officer said.
He was speared by people police believe were well known to him and some of the witnesses.
Police said the deceased’s son was with him at the time of the attack.
Reports indicate that the deceased had earlier reported to police on threats on his life and had even sought police protection.
Mr Khaemba did not however, confirm if the deceased man had been given the security he was seeking prior to his death.
Last week, gemstone dealers called on the police to expedite investigations into the dealer’s killing “and bring those involved to book.”
Kenya Chamber of Mines Patron Johnson Muthama said it was imperative for the police “to quickly conduct and conclude investigations because the killers are known.”
He also questioned why the police failed to protect Bridges “because he was killed only hours after expressing fears for his life.”
Vice Chairman of the Kenya Chamber of Mines (KCM) Dr Cedric Simonet termed Bridges’ death as a “major loss to the mining industry in the country.”
He said Bridges had done a lot to streamline the mining industry in the country which had been neglected for a long time.
He told reporters that: “Killers of Bridges were well known to some of the people who were attacked alongside the deceased. The police should carry out thorough investigations and arrest the killers.”
“The people who did this are known, so we can only be confident that the police will arrest these people very soon,” he added.
“I have known Bridges for more than 12 years I have heard of him when I was a geologist student in a university far away in France and it was an honour for me to meet him the first time in Kenya. I am very sad for his loss,” he said.
KCM Chief Executive Samuel Munyiri said: “We at the chamber have lost a dedicated Kenyan who was selfless in his efforts in working with the government to ensure that the mining industry is streamlined for the benefit of the country as a whole.”
“Investigations have been launched and we will ensure that the people who killed Mr Bridges are apprehended and that justice will be served,” he said in a statement.