AMBUSH

Killers of KBC editor wore gloves, balaclavas — husband

During robbery, they wore industrial gloves and balaklavas covering their heads, only their eyes were visible.

In Summary
  •  She was shot in the head. Two armed with AK-47 rifles and one had a G3. 
  • They told me to lift my left hand and they pulled off my ring, her husband said.

KBC journalist Betty Barasa's widower, Geoffrey Barasa, on Thursday recounted the horror robbery that led to his wife's death on Wednesday night in Ngong during a robbery.

The gunmen who fatally shot KBC video editor Betty Barasa twice in the head and robbed the family carried assault rifles and wore heavy gloves and balaclavas.

Journalist Barasa, 41, was shot dead in a robbery in Ololua area, Ngong. She died at the scene. Her husband said while in their house, one man made a call saying they had completed their mission.

Questions: If it was a robbery, why was Betty killed? If they wanted money and found Barasa's ATM card, why didn't they hold him to get the money? Why did they take just a laptop, Betty's mobile and Barasa's ring?

Betty had arrived at her home at about 8.20pm when a three-man gang  waiting at the entrance forced their way into the compound as the gate was opened, witnesses said.

Her husband Geoffrey Barasa, 49, is the head of finance for the National Museums of Kenya. 

“Two of them were armed with AK-47 rifles and one had a G3. They were wearing industrial gloves and head mufflers so  that you could only see their eyes.

“They ordered us to surrender and lie down. They wanted money,” he told journalists on Thursday.

The gang stole Barasa’s laptop containing a report for the museum board which he was working on.

A mobile phone they had stolen from Betty was recovered on Thursday in the compound.

Barasa said they grabbed his laptop but returned his wallet, which had an ATM card as they demanded money.

“They told me to lift my left hand and they pulled off my ring,” he said.

He said one of the attackers later made a call saying they had completed their mission.

“One of them said 'tumemaliza' after the two gunshots rent the air," he said. Those were shots that killed Betty.

Barasa narrated the ordeal to reporters on Thursday.

Betty was on duty on Wednesday and had left Broadcast House in the City Centre for her new home, hoping to join her husband and three children.

And as usual she drove to the gate and the househelp rushed to open it for her.

As she drove in, the three forced their way in. The househelp ran off screaming there were strangers in the compound.

The family said the gang followed to her car, ordered her out at gunpoint and lead her into the house.

She had recently moved in and is still under construction.

Inside, her husband and children were terrified after hearing the screams of the househelp and seeing the gunmen,

One gunman demanded money from Betty and ordered her to take him to the bedroom upstairs.

Two others remained in the sitting room with her husband and children.

Barasa said they kept demanding money and other valuables as they moved from one room to another.

He and he children begged for their lives and told the gang to take anything they wanted.

One gunmen kept asking where the househelp was. It is not clear if they thought she could identify them or would raise an alarm.

Then, Barasa said, they heard two gunshots.

The gunman who had taken Betty to the upper rooms had shot her twice in the head at close range as she also begged for her life. Her body was found in the corridor leading to the master bedroom.

One of the bullets passed through her. A spent cartridge was recovered from her clothes.

After the shooting, the gang grabbed the laptop and her mobile phone that police recovered on Thursday.

Residents who heard gunshots ran to the scene.

Police said they had yet to make an arrest or know the motive of the killing.

“It could be the thugs were just after money but we are on it to know more,” said police boss Rashid Mohamed said.

The area is growing fast as the standard gauge railway is nearby. Many people who had bought land in the area are building houses.

Next to Betty’s home is a house still under construction. Neighbours said the gang may have been hiding there.

The body was moved to Montezuma Funeral Home.

DCI detectives joined the Ngong police to investigate.

Betty’s colleagues described her as a dedicated journalist who made a mark in her work and the industry. She also taught at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

Ngong has been experiencing relative calm after an upsurge of crime in the early 2000s led to an exodus. Thugs roamed the area, robbing and  killing new residents in a trend that shocked many people.

DCI boss George Kinoti led a police squad to the area and restored security.

"We will get them. Justice must prevail," he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)