Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's all glamour and romance until someone gets killed by a spear-wielding mob

Sad news: "Campbell Bridges, a renowned British gemstone mine owner, has been murdered in the Kenyan bush by a gang of illegal prospectors armed with machetes, spears and bows and arrows. Mr Bridges, 71, was stabbed repeatedly after he and his son Bruce were ambushed as they drove on Tuesday to their mine, 190 miles southeast of Nairobi. The murder was the culmination of a three-year battle with squatters stealing rare tsavorite gems, first discovered more than 40 years ago by Mr Bridges, a senior jewel consultant with Tiffany and Company in New York."

The murderers seem to be very well-connected. Despite "a court last month confirming that his mining licence was valid and approving his prospecting rights, he had recently come up against powerful local figures who wanted him off his mine, Bruce Bridges said....'We told the police all about it, but they didn't do anything, we're pretty sure they were being ordered to drag their heels by the higher-ups.'"

Why didn't Bridges carry a firearm or travel with armed security? Are the "powerful local figures" part of the government? Is this an unofficial/official takeover? What does it mean for new discoveries?

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