CPJ mourns death of photographer in Kenya

New York, May 29, 2008—CPJ is deeply troubled by the death of award-winning photojournalist Trent Keegan, whose body was found on Wednesday in a ditch in Nairobi, Kenya.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Agence France-Presse that Keegan was found with head injuries in a drainage trench along a central highway. Police have opened an inquest, he said.

“This is a devastating loss for those who knew Trent Keegan, a photographer who worked to document people in need of a voice around the world,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “The Kenyan police must act decisively to bring whoever killed Keegan to justice. Time is of the essence here, as it is in all murder investigations.”

CPJ is investigating whether Keegan’s death was linked to his work.

According to a police report, Keegan’s body was identified by his Irish driver’s license and a business card promoting his Web site. His wallet also contained 3,848 shillings (US$62).

Keegan was working on an investigative report about a land dispute in northern Tanzania between Maasai tribesmen and the Massachusetts-based Thomson Safaris Company, according to e-mail between the photographer and one of his colleagues. A spokesman for Thomson Safaris said the company had no knowledge of such a report.

Keegan had been in Africa for a month, his Irish colleagues told CPJ. They said Keegan had returned to Nairobi this week from a trip to Tanzania.  According to Keegan’s colleagues, he was last seen having dinner with a friend on Tuesday evening.  

He was the winner of several awards from the Irish Professional Photographers Association and worked around the world in places such as Darfur, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the slums of Mombassa, Kenya.