With sadness I must report that two tourists were killed on a Mombasa beach on October 15, but it’s extremely important to keep this in perspective.
The event has attracted enormous worldwide coverage, yet little is known. It’s very important to not jump to too many conclusions.
That isn’t because tourist deaths are not important for all of us to know, but because it represents two of the 120,000 British tourists who have visited Kenya in the last year.
If we consider the British visiting Kenya a virtual city, the percentage who have been murdered is one-tenth the murder rate of my city, Chicago.
It is also much less than the tourist murder rate in such common places as Antigua, Mexico City and even St. Petersburg. In fact two British tourists were murdered in Antigua this summer.
So while the news is very sad, these are the first two tourists reported killed this year in violent crime in Kenya.
The British Foreign Office kept the news quiet for nearly two weeks, as the couple was killed on October 15 in what British officials call a “bungled burglary.”
The statement also repeated a long warning to British beach holiday makers not to walk on the beaches after dark, but no further details were released. The Kenyan police are saying nothing.
So while the details are not yet known, and the reason for withholding the story not yet know, I’d bet that the couple tried to resist, and that led to their murder.
Reports of attempted burglaries that do not end so tragically are rarely reported, because crime in general is so high in Kenya. We learn of them rarely through the news, most often through the grapevine. There are admittedly many thefts and holdups of tourists throughout East Africa each year. But discipline to not resist usually results in little if any violence or injury.