Trent Keegan

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Keegan, a New Zealand-born photojournalist was found dead in a trench next to Uhuru Highway in Nairobi on May 28, Kenyan police said. A police statement said Keegan was found with head injuries about 10 hours after he was killed.

Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told CPJ that investigators believed Keegan was killed in a robbery attempt. Police said that Keegan’s camera and laptop were missing, but his wallet, with 3,848 Kenyan shillings (US$48), was left intact. Police arrested two men; one was acquitted at trial and the other continued to face charges in late year.

The photographer, last seen at 9:30 p.m. on May 27 after visiting a friend, was found with multiple injuries to the back of the head. According to colleagues who visited the crime scene, Keegan’s body had been dragged into a concealed area in the ditch.

Some friends and colleagues were skeptical of the robbery motive. Several told CPJ that an external hard drive and discs–which Keegan would have used for his work–were not on the police inventory of items found in the journalist’s Nairobi apartment.

Prior to his death, Keegan had told friends via e-mail that he was investigating a land dispute in northern Tanzania between local Maasai and the Massachusetts-based Thomson Safaris Company. Keegan said that while he was reporting in Tanzania people representing themselves as police and employees of the safari company had visited him and questioned him about his work. He said in the e-mails that he was concerned about his safety. A spokeswoman for Thomson Safaris told CPJ that the company was unaware that Keegan was working on a story about its operations.

Keegan had lived in western Ireland for eight years and won several awards from the Irish Professional Photographers Association. His work was published in several Irish newspapers and magazines. Keegan’s body was airlifted back to New Zealand during the first week of June 2008.