Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > Uncategorised > ’This Is Sickening’: Forest Defender Joanna Stuchburry Shot to Death in (...)

’This Is Sickening’: Forest Defender Joanna Stuchburry Shot to Death in Kenya

Sunday 18 July 2021, by siawi3


Photo: Joanna Stuchburry, seen here in file photos, is recognized for having helped save Kiambu forest from development.

’This Is Sickening’: Forest Defender Joanna Stuchburry Shot to Death in Kenya

Stuchburry’s efforts to defend Kiambu forest and work “fighting for the rest of us” drew renewed praise.

Andrea Germanos

July 16, 2021

Conservation advocates across the globe expressed sadness Friday in response to the killing of environmental defender Joanna Stuchburry outside her Nairoibi area home in Kenya.

The news was first shared on social media by renowned Kenyan wildlife conservationist and writer Dr. Paula Kahumbu, who tweeted that Stuchburry “was shot four times in her driveway” on Thursday and that “nothing was stolen” during the event.

According to the local, which spoke to her neighbors, Stuchburry was ambushed. “The gang waylaid her at around 5 pm as she was strolling in the neighborhood,” the outlet reported.

“At the time of her death,” said Fridays for Future-Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA), Stuchburry “was defending the Kiambu forest against developers.”

“Kenya seems to be a deadly country for environmental activists,” added Fridays for Future-MAPA, which also pointed the killing ivory and rhino horn detective Esmond Bradley Martin, who was stabbed to death in 2018 at his home in Kenya.

Stuchburry’s killing also elicited responses from U.S.-based consumer advocate Erin Brockovich and Kenya-based climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti, who both referenced the broader war land- and environmental-defenders face worldwide.

“This is sickening. This is a war. There are lives being lost. Lives taken silently by the poisoning and destruction of the earth and those murdered fighting for the rest of us,” said Brockovich.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also condemned the killing.

“For the longest time, Joanna has been a steadfast champion for the conservation of our environment and is remembered for her relentless efforts to protect Kiambu forest from encroachment,” he said in Friday statement.

Kenyatta also vowed that authorities would “pursue and apprehend the criminals behind the killing” and not allow “misguided individuals to continue shedding blood of innocent people working hard to make Kenya a better place for all of us.”

Julius Kamau, the chief conservator of forests, paid homage to Stuchburry’s “selfless” work to protect the Kiambu Forest Reserve and said her efforts would “not go in vain.”

Fridays for Future-Kenya is calling on Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations to “speed up the investigations” into Stuchburry’s killing “and bring the culprits to book.”


Environment activist shot dead outside Nairobi home after death threats

Kenyan president condemns killing of Joannah Stutchbury, who protested against building in Kiambu forest

Joannah Stutchbury sitting in the scoop of a digger
Joannah Stutchbury attempting to defend the forest from a developer. Photograph: Facebook

Jason Burke

Fri 16 Jul 2021 17.32 BST
Last modified on Fri 16 Jul 2021 18.25 BST

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.

Stutchbury had vocally opposed attempts by powerful local businessmen to build on the nearby Kiambu forest, and had received death threats in the past.

It is really awful. The conservation fraternity is very shaken. It is devastating, said Dr Paula Kahumbu, the CEO of WildlifeDirect, a conservation NGO.

The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, condemned the killing. For the longest time, Joannah has been a steadfast champion for the conservation of our environment and is remembered for her relentless efforts to protect Kiambu forest from encroachment, he said.

Though Kenyas natural heritage is a main source of tourist revenue, it is threatened by encroachment, squatters and developers, often with links to powerful local politicians.

The Kiambu forest lies on the outskirts of the Nairobi, where land prices have soared in recent years. Joannah was a big help to [the Kenya Forest Service] and was a big voice against the destruction of Kiambu forest. We need a detailed investigation by the police to find out what happened and what was the motive. People should not forget what happened, an official from the service told the local Star newspaper.

Stutchburys killing is only one of a number of violent deaths of conservationists in recent years. In 2018, Esmond Bradley Martin, a Kenya-based American conservationist whose investigations of the elephant ivory and rhino horn trades were considered critical in efforts to protect the threatened species, was stabbed to death in his Nairobi home. His murder remains unresolved.

There are a lot of bad things happening to the environment in Kenya. People are very scared, even of officials. There is a lot of fear, but no one imagined that someone would kill someone like Joanna, an old lady. This was deeply cowardly, said Kahumbu.

The Conservation Alliance of Kenya, a coalition of NGOs, said the Kiambu forest had been invaded by land grabbers for housing developments and said Stutchbury had recently reported a threat from a developer.

Amnesty Internationals Kenya branch condemned Stutchburys killing and called for a swift investigation. Joannah was known for her actions in Kiambu county. She never turned a blind eye when she saw any illegalities within the forest. We condemn this senseless killing and call for justice for Joannah and all the other environmental and human rights activists whove sadly lost their lives while defending the integrity of our environment and natural heritage, it said.