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More on Mara Shooting Death

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More on Mara Shooting Death

Link to this post 13 Aug 10

Further info on the Mara shooting death via email is as follows:

\"A true version of what happened in Kenya a couple of days ago, that the Government there, are trying to hush up.

Am forwarding this to you, as living in Africa you will understand the horror. This happened this week camping in the Maasi Mara. All those mentioned are neighbours and most live along South Lake Rd, Naivasha. All are white Kenyans (maybe some 3rd and 4th generation). The white community in Kenya being small, have heard the awful news, the acts so meaningless, but no reports on TV. The local newspaper \"The Nation\" printed a totally inaccurate version saying a \'tourist\' had been shot dead at a lodge. It is all being hushed up to protect the tourist industry. George already has heard and has no doubt told you on the phone. Keith, you may know the families concerned.
All so sad and tragic. The Memorial to take place will be announced later.

Dear All,

Thanks to all of those who have emailed, sms\'d, phoned and sent messages of sympathy to Elli and the rest of the D\'Olier family through me. I will pass all your messages on to Elli.

An update, and more accurate description of what took place in the Mara on Monday evening. There was some confusion in the initial story, understandably, from very shocked people who were there.

Having set up camp late on Monday, the party were enjoying themselves and chatting round the camp fire, when it started to drizzle with rain.

Pat and Sara Neylan headed off towards their tent, a little way away from other tents, to close it. Others went to close their tents and get jackets. Pat was shining his torch around, and caught sight of someone in his torch light. He was shot in the upper leg, and also sustained a broken ankle, probably when he fell to the ground. Pat shouted out to the others, then played dead. Sara being a little way behind Pat, tried to get to him, but took a bullet to her pelvis. (I hear she was being operated on last night)

Everyone dived for cover, under cars, in tents, in the bush........ and started sms\'ing for help. Unfortunately, whoever received Jane Shepherd sms, then phoned her! - this immediately alerted the thugs to her hiding place beneath a car, which she was dragged out from and beaten up.

Johnny was quietly trying to make his way around the outskirts of the camp to get to Pat to help him. This is when he was seen and shot in the head.

AMREF were called, and refused to land at Kichwa, but said they would go into Serena, this meant a very very long and bumpy drive to get Pat and Sara to Serena airstrip, instead of a 10 minute drive to Kichwa. (One wonders why we bother to be members of the Flying Docs?!)
Management at Governors camp - Patrick Beresford, Colin Smit and Chala Cadot were just amazing and helped in every way they possibly could.

The whole party had returned to Naivasha by yesterday evening, all very shocked and stunned by what had happened.

The police and park officials arrived on scene, and the police apparently helped themselves to some of the booze (how typical is that - argh!), then had to be persuaded to STAY AWAY from evidence found in the bush so that a good scent may be left for the tracker dogs!

I have unconfirmed reports that the tracker dogs found one member of the gang......?

We now send our heartfelt condolences to Elli, Colm, Anne Marie and the rest of the D\'Olier family on their tragic loss.

This was the beginning of the 60th Birthday bashes - Johnny would have been 60 in late August. R.I.P Johnny, you will be sorely missed.

Pat and Sara Neylan are both in Nairobi hospital South Wing.

Best wishes and thanks to you all for your support.

Link to this post 13 Aug 10

Masai Mara murder threatens Kenyan tourism
A murder in Kenya's Masai Mara raises fears for tourists' safety, says Mike Pflanz.

By Mike Pflanz in Kenya
Published: 12:46PM BST 06 Aug 2010

Safari tourists follow a lion in the Masai Mara, where the attacks took place

It was a little before 9pm, almost bedtime for visitors expecting to rise before the sun for a game drive in one of the world's most famous wildlife parks.

People were drifting out of the mess tent at the small eco-lodge where I and a group of friends were staying. Over near his desk, I noticed the manager rummaging inside a trunk. He pulled out a pistol, hurriedly loaded it, and tucked it into the waistband of his khaki shorts.

This must be normal practice at night here on the fringes of Kenya's Masai Mara, I thought, wondering what use a handgun would be against a marauding elephant or inquisitive leopard.

The next morning, a series of text messages sent to my BlackBerry overnight revealed the true reason for my hotel manager's concern.

Just a few miles along the Mara river below us, a white Kenyan farmer had been shot dead, and two friends seriously wounded, in a robbery at their private campsite.

Tourism earned Kenya more than £700 million last year. Lodge owners, game park rangers and the government are understandably coy about reporting the extent of threats to visitors.

To be fair, the risk is low. The vast majority of visitors who come here will enjoy a trouble-free holiday. But in the Masai Mara, there are concerns that armed gangs are gearing up to mount ever more sophisticated attacks on tourists.

"We're currently in a state of anarchy," said one senior source in the Masai Mara. "Evidence is gathered, the people responsible are found, but nothing happens. There is only so much lodge managers and wardens are able to do. Without the backing of the police, we are powerless."

This attack, last week, was one of the most brutal. John D'Olier, a farmer and former vineyard owner from the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, had arrived to celebrate his 60th birthday with his wife, Elli, their son and daughter, and 10 other friends and staff.

Shortly before supper was served, seven men with three AK47's stormed the camp, firing indiscriminately. The party scattered into the bush.

The men gave chase. In the following minutes, Mr D'Olier was shot dead from behind, and his friends Pat and Sara Neylen were seriously injured.

After smashing car windows, stealing mobile telephones, a laptop and money, the gang was scared off when a rescue vehicle roared into camp, having been alerted by desperate calls by Mr D'Olier's friends during the raid.

This was the most brutal attack on visitors to the Masai Mara in years, but there have been others.

A British family was robbed of money, jewellery and camera equipment, their two children were roughed up at another tented camp in October. Earlier in the year, a tented camp close to the Tanzanian border was attacked. Again, tourists were beaten and robbed.

Few of these incidents garner wide publicity – even in Kenya itself – and few perpetrators are brought to justice. My source in the Masai Mara says that at least one of the men who attacked Mr D'Olier's camp was known to police.

A Kenyan police spokesman denied this. "Everything is done at all times to keep Kenya's attractions perfectly safe for our visitors," he said.

Article at:

Link to this post 15 Aug 10

Having just been in the Mara a few weeks ago, I think that I am glad not to have read something like this before we went--not that it would have stopped us but it would have been something on the mind while there. This is so sad that the government is not aggressive about these things. I thought the armed Masai that escorted us to and from our tent at night was because of wild animals--evidently the fear is people.

Link to this post 15 Aug 10


You are correct in assuming the Maasai or askaris are there to protect you from wildlife. The risks of a tourist being injured by wildlife are far higher than the risk of being involved in a tragedy as in the above story.

Tourists need to be protected from their own stupidity. Last week I was sitting on my veranda. A group of female elephants and their babies had left the waterhole and were headed for my tent. I started speaking with them and they stopped 20 - 30 feet from my tent. They let the babies lie down for a brief nap and I continued to talk with them. Suddenly a young 4 year old bull from the group ran to the front of the family and turned and flared his ears at my tent. I was thinking "what is that all about - they've been listening to me for 10 minutes". Then I turned to my left side and saw a young couple who had walked behind my tent and were approaching the family who were so very close to the tent. I immediately motioned with my arm and said "back, danger" and then called for an askari on my walkie-talkie.

I have seen this in every place I've stayed in Kenya. People think they are in zoo and can approach wild animals with no danger. This young couple, had they continued walking, would have been killed by the matriarch. Personally I wouldn't feel badly if a stupid tourist was killed. The sad part would be that the wildlife authorities would come, try to find the elephant involved, and since they couldn't find the exact one, would shoot another one in retaliation.

One evening while talking with friends in the lounge area of the dining room, we started to hear roaring just outside one wall. Then another roar behind camp, then another roar next to my tent. Camp was totally surrounded by lions! What an awesome sound. Would I have walked to my tent on my own? NO WAY!

It is incidents like this where askaris are so valuable as they are used to dealing with wildlife and know how to act around it. However, they are no more able or equipped to deal with gangs with AK47's than you or I.

The above story in the Mara was a rare and tragic event. It should not have happened. However, when one read about things like this it makes one realize how inept the police and courts are in Africa.
Like the Keystone Kops of old. No-one is found, and if found, courts let them go. I hope with the new Constitution things will start improving for everyone's sake.

Link to this post 18 Aug 10

Of course you are right when you state that news might have interfered with your feelings. Nobody can claim not being worried because about any attacks committed in the Mara or Conservancy as we stay there in tented accommodations and there is not much we can do if attacked.
But rest assured - this must be seen as an isolated incident.
More than 1 mio tourists visti the mara each year and if there are 3 or 4 raiders...I guess we have to swallow it's not 100% safe as it isn't in any place on this globe.

We stayed at Naibor last Feb and that camp was raided in Oct 09. We just hoped for the best

But Jan is also right: Most danger comes from animals or rather humans provoking animals because many visitors lack common sense.

Link to this post 22 Aug 10

No good - I will be there in 4 months time with my kids....