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The funeral of KWS commander Bajila Obed Kofa on September 16th. He was ambushed on August 31st in the car he was driving, having just dropped off his daughter to school.

Kenya Wildlife Services Officer in Charge of Rhino Security Gunned Down “Gangland Hit” Style

Bajila Obed Kofa was responsible for Solio Conservancy security at the time of his murder. It is home to approximately 200 rhino's.

KWS officer Bajila Obed Kofa

SEEJ-AFRICA THUMBNAIL:

  • On August 31st, 2021, KWS Company Commander, Bajila Obed Kofa, was murdered by an apparent ‘hit’ team.
  • While driving home from dropping his daughter at Nkuene Girls High School in Meru County, one of the two Subaru Outback vehicles trailing him, pulled along side and open fired, spraying Obed Kofa and his vehicle with bullets.
  • Some hours after the shooting, police gave a press conference referring to Kofa as criminal. It appears that he still had not been identified at that time.
  • This story did not hit the general media until September 4th at which time KWS confirmed the identification of Bajila Kofa.
  • Kofa was in charge of security at rhino conservancy, Solio Ranch.  Solio Ranch has been subject to stories over the years of rhino poaching involving rogue KWS officers.
KWS Honour Guard Fire Salute to Bajila Kofa
“They sprayed his vehicle with bullets, deflating the front tyre and injuring the decorated officer in the thigh and waist. He lost control of the vehicle and it landed in a ditch.  Shortly after, one of his attackers walked over to the officer’s vehicle and shot him dead. When they were done, they picked up the spent cartridges and left.”

Editor’s Note:

To date, the Kenya Wildlife Service have totally distanced themselves from this ‘execution’ of one of their own.  The message that is clearly being sent is that Bajila Kofa was a criminal when in fact the opposite is likely to be true.  

All initial indicators point to rogue agents of the government or KWS executing the ambush.  Bajila Kofa was in charge of security at a large rhino conservancy where one rhino had been poached just weeks previous.  He was eulogized by many at his funeral (including a number of his colleagues and the Deputy Director Security) as being a prayerful man, a man who loved his work, who was dedicated, diligent and highly trusted. 

As all Kenyans know, the only way this murder will be properly investigated will be through an act of divine intervention or witchcraft.  

And the primary message here from the executioners to officers of KWS: “Get in our way at your peril”.

Poachers fight back? KWS officer saw his death coming

September 8, 2021
By
 
Senior Kenya Wildlife Service officer Bajila Kofa, who was executed gangland-style outside Meru National Polytechnic last week, had expressed fear for his life, relatives and colleagues told the Nation.
 
A brother of the KWS Nyeri Company commander said on the day he fell under a hail of bullets, he had called to say that he felt unsafe.
 
In another pointer to possible premonition about his death, the 43-year-old officer who used pictures of flora and fauna on his WhatsApp profile had posted words that depicted a man in distress.
 
“When God is about to take you to a greater level, everything will go crazy. Friends will betray you. You will be left alone. In that very moment, God will be your only source and He alone will take the glory,” the post read
 
A sibling said the third-born in a family of 10, who had many dependants, had warned that his life was in danger. “He had reported that his life was in danger and even called me. He was the strength of the family as he was supporting us since only two were employed.
 
“He was coordinating tracking of suspected poachers who were targeting rhinos. He was a thorn in the flesh of the poaching cartels,” said the sibling.
 
“Initial investigations indicate he was felled by professionals who even collected all the spent cartridges from the scene and seem very well trained… Police had said they killed him but are now distancing themselves after they realised he was a senior KWS officer,” the sibling went on.
 
Charles Wanyoro | Nation Media Group
 
In his line of duty, Kofa is said to have constantly encountered threats but remained unbothered. He was tasked with ensuring maximum security at Solio ranch, which is key to the protection and breeding of black rhinos, which have in the past been plagued by constant poaching.
However, in the days prior to his death, he was concerned about his security and was allowed to keep a gun, which he always had in his inconspicuous saloon car.
 
Kofa had picked up his daughter from Kagio in Kirinyaga County and dropped her off at Nkuene Girls High School in Meru County and was returning to his base when he was gunned down.
Witnesses said he was being trailed by two Subaru Outback cars that caught up with him just outside Meru National Polytechnic, along the Meru-Nanyuki road.
 
“He realised that something was amiss and started speeding. However, he could not outrace the two vehicles,” said a witness. One of the vehicles sped alongside his as his attackers opened fire. They sprayed his vehicle with bullets, deflating the front tyre and injuring the decorated officer in the thigh and waist. He lost control of the vehicle and it landed in a ditch. Shortly after, one of his attackers walked over to the officer’s vehicle and shot him dead.
When they were done, they picked up the spent cartridges and left.
 
Kofa’s bullet-riddled saloon car, registration KAZ 207 Q had at least 30 bullet holes. The driver’s window was shattered and the tyres perforated.
A postmortem conducted last week indicated Kofa had multiple gunshot wounds and that three that hit his head were fired at close range.
 
Imenti North police boss Alexander Makau had earlier said they did not know the identity of the killers but claimed Kofa was a criminal.
KWS spokesperson Paul Jinaro, while confirming that Kofa was their officer, said he could not comment on the investigations as that is the work of the police.
 
The body was taken to Montezuma Monalisa funeral home and he will be buried on Friday at his Kipini Matangeni village home in Tana River County.
 
By Nationmedia.com

KWS Confirms That Man Shot Dead in Meru Drive-by Shooting Was a KWS Senior Officer

By Nzioka Justin (self media writer) | September 4th, 2021
 
A motorist shot dead outside Meru National Polytechnic earlier this week has been identified as a senior Kenya Wildlife Service official.
The revelation raises eyebrows over what might have led to the officer’s murder. KWS Aberdare Commander Bajila Kofadied after his car was sprayed with bullets along Meru-Nanyuki Road.
 
According to KWS spokesperson Paul Jinaro, the deceased had taken his child to a school in Meru, when the unfortunate occurred.
 
Two cars had reportedly trailed Mr. Kofa from Nanyuki, before one overtook his car while the occupants opened fire. The shooting left Mr. Kofa with several gun wounds.
 
His car had around 30 bullet holes. Imenti North police boss Alexander Makau stated that the killers were yet to be identified, but feared the deceased was part of criminal proceedings.
 
“We suspect he was a criminal. Previously, we had received intelligence that we had armed robbers in Meru municipality and had been following them…,” stated Mr. Alexander.
 
The police boss further added that speculations were high that the late could have been executed by his accomplices. KWS hioweveer refuted claims that the late was a criminal.
 
Another KWS worker suspected that Mr. Bofa could have been killed by poachers who viewed him as a threat.
 
Content created and supplied by: nzioka justin
The body of Bajila Kofa loaded onto police transport.

Wildlife defender Kofa did not deserve a brutal death

HOUGHTON IRUNGU By Irungu Houghton | September 19th 2021
Ripples from Joannah Stutchbury’s murder continue to violently disturb the national conscience.
 
Thirty bullets took the life of Kenya Wildlife Service Commander Bajila Kofa recently.  His murder is the fifth known Kenyan environmental
defender killed in the last three years.  How can we protect those protecting us and our environment better?
 
The KWS Nyeri company commander had spent six of the last 43 years of life conserving wildlife in our parks and conservancies.  Kofa was
responsible for the security of Solio conservancy, home to over 200 black and white rhinos.  Solio has the largest number of rhino crashes
(a family of rhinos is called a crash).  It is hard to imagine that a kilo of rhino tusks fetches Sh6 million in Asian markets and rhinos were
once on the verge of extinction.
 
Kofa and other brave KWS officers transformed this destruction. KWS, Rhino Ark and Wildlife Direct have eulogised his efforts since his death
on 31 August 2021.  Husband and father to three young children, Kofa came from a family of ten siblings.  His funeral brought his family,
community, and several colleagues back to his Kipini Matangeni village home in Tana River County, where he was accorded a two-gun salute.
 
Several have testified he knew he was being hunted before he was trailed by two Subaru Outback cars, gunned down near the Meru National
Polytechnic and executed at close range.  The assailants were well-trained and took time to collect spent cartridges.  Before investigations
into his death or autopsy had begun, Imenti North Commander Alexander Makau branded Kofa a serious criminal known to the police.
 
Kenya Wildlife Service Director General (Rtd) Brigadier John Migui Waweru has disagreed publicly, noting that the officer was one of them.
Some have publicly suggested police officers may have been involved.  Without independent and thorough investigations, it will not be possible
to legally establish whether it was poachers, informers, law enforcement officers or a combination of them and others who are responsible for this government officers’ death.
 
Seven years ago, KTN’s Inside Story investigative documentary “Poachers and Butchers” exposed a cartel of civil servants, rangers and politicians that hunted rhinos together but then, each other.  Fear of public exposure and arrest often ended in the elimination of those at the centre of the poaching rings.
 
Environmental defenders are still up against organised criminals with international connections. Officer Kofa did not deserve such a brutal death.
 
The government has failed to protect his right to life. In the absence of an independent investigation and enhanced protection, the recent incident will drive fear into KWS rangers and warders, non-state wildlife defenders and open door for criminals to take control of our remaining national heritage.
 
Kenyans must not be silent. Allowing these incidents and the recent cases of over 50 enforcement disappearances to happen in the national shadows will breed lawlessness and further criminal violence.  There has been no progress or even a public statement on the brutal murder of Joannah Stutchbury. It seems predictable that despite international and national outcry led by President Kenyatta, this case too will remain unsolved, justice suffocated, and impunity will win again.
 
My condolences to the family and comrades of Commander Bajila Kofa. May he rest in peace, may justice be served.
 
Irungu.houghton
 

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