Kenyan journalist in hiding after receiving threats

A Kenyan journalist working for the privately owned daily The Star went into hiding on May 7, 2014, two days after she received threats, she told CPJ. Lydia Ngoolo said she was told via a text message to stop writing about “us.”

Ngoolo said that on the same day a caller mistook another Star journalist for her and threatened the journalist, saying, “We know you and that you are the person working with The Star newspaper in Mwingi.”

Ngoolo and her colleagues believe the threats were linked to her story published on April 28, 2014, in The Star called, “Police urged to investigate old deserted house.” The article included interviews with local residents who said they suspected Somali members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group used a house in Mwingi Town, central Kitui County, as a transit center. Ngoolo also published an article the following day, citing a local official who denied the residents’ claims.

Julius Sunkuli, director of the Kitui County Criminal Investigations Department (CID), told the Star the department would carry out an investigation, Star Regional News Editor Joseph Olweny told CPJ. Mwingi Central District CID Head Charles Marangu pledged to investigate the threats after Ngoolo made a statement, according to Olweny and a report in the Star.