A renowned Scottish gemstone expert was brutally murdered in Kenya by a mob armed with machetes, clubs, spears — even bows and arrows — in what police believe was the final fight in a years-long mining dispute.
A group of at least 30 men attacked Campbell Bridges, 71, his son Bruce, and four Kenyan employees near the Tsavo National Park, a popular tourist site in the Kenyan bush known for its lions.
“My men were cut to ribbons and I took a panga [machete] to the neck,” Bruce Bridges told The Times of London.
“It was an ambush,” Bridges told the paper.
The murder was the bloody culmination of a three-year battle between squatters and Bridges — a senior jewel consultant with Tiffany and Company in New York. The squatters have reportedly stolen rare tsavorite gems from Bridges' team in the past.
Bridges' son charges the local miners with illegally digging for gems on the family’s 600-hectare property. He also adds that the Bridges family has received repeated death threats, the most recent one coming just two weeks ago.
“As we drove towards our mining camp we found huge thorn trees blocking the road. Eight men with machetes, spears, clubs, knives, bows and arrows appeared shouting ‘We’re going to kill you all!’ Then more people came down the mountain like ants, 20 or 30 of them,” Bridges told the Times of London.
According to his son, Campbell Bridges was attacked by two men and was stabbed in the side.
“I saw him fall,” he told the paper. Bridges' son is now in Nairobi with his father's body.
The 30-year-old fought his way to his father’s side, armed with a club that he kept in the car.
“At the same time, two of my security guards who were with us were gashed with pangas and beaten with clubs,” he said.