Kenya charges two with murder of British gem expert

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The Independent Online

Kenya has charged two men with murdering a prominent Scottish gemstones expert killed last month by a mob armed with clubs, spears and bows and arrows.

Coast region police chief Leo Nyongesa told Reuters today the pair denied being involved in the 11 August death of Campbell Bridges, a 71-year-old internationally-renowned geologist and gemmologist.

"They were positively identified by witnesses during a parade as the ones involved in the attack," Nyongesa said, adding the men, Alfred Njiruka and Samuel Masala, had been remanded in custody on Monday until a trial date was set.

Njiruka, who police say led the mob that killed Bridges in an apparent dispute over mining rights, was arrested last month in the border town of Taveta.

Njiruka leads a group of small-scale miners in the area where the killing took place, near the southern town of Voi.

Bridges is credited with discovering the green tsavorite gemstone in the late 1960s in the east African bushland on the nearby border with neighbouring Tanzania.

He was also a pioneer in helping introduce the deep-blue gemstone tanzanite to the international jewellery market.