CARE regional director, two U.S. aid workers killed in Nairobi


NAIROBI, Kenya — Geoffrey Chege, 57, the regional director of the aid agency, CARE International, for East and Central Africa, was fatally shot Jan. 27 in an upscale suburb of Nairobi during a carjacking attempt.

He was returning from a prayer meeting with his wife, who was not hurt.

According to SVM News Service Chege was directing CARE USA's programs in East and Central Africa as a 25-year veteran of CARE.

On the same day, two United States women and an employee of an international aid organization were also shot to death in a village just a few miles outside the capital city of Nairobi.

The women were identified as Lois Anderson, a former Presbyterian Church (USA) missionary in Africa, and her daughter, Zelda White.

"Zelda White lived with her husband in Kenya, and the Andersons had traveled to the east Africa nation from their South Carolina home for a family gathering.

According to the police, the women, who were traveling in a car with diplomatic license plates, were stopped were stopped by rilfe-bearing carjackers west of Nairobi. Police said they shot and killed the suspects later that day.

"At least one woman was shot because she took too long to leave the car," authorities told the SVM News Service. "Five people were traveling in the vehicle, which was then towed to the U.S. embassy."

The US embassy has declined to comment on the incident.

Geoffrey Chege, a native of Nairobi, began working for CARE in 1983 as a project manager for Primary Education and Youth Polytechnics. Over the years, he held various positions at CARE in Kenya, Egypt, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, where he was country director. He became regional director, based in Nairobi, in the summer of 2003.

He leaves his wife and three daughters.

"We are deeply saddened and stunned by this senseless death," CARE President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Helene Gayle said. "No one was more committed than Geoffrey to uplifting the poor and vulnerable; no one was a greater champion for women's equality. Everyone who knew Geoffrey held him in the highest regard. The CARE family sends our heartfelt condolences to Geoffrey's wife and daughters and to his extended family."

Nairobi has gained a reputation for theft and carjackings, which often turn violent. Last year saw a wave of attacks on foreign diplomats. Between July and September, the Russian ambassador, a Danish diplomat and a U.S. military attaché were wounded and robbed in three separate incidents.

"Any kind of torturing to the humanitarian aid workers must be condemned; for they are angels of earth to the poor and helpless," said the Rev. Paul Ciniraj, director of Salem Voice Ministries, which is doing charitable and gospel services in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.