Gunmen behind the murder of KBC video editor Betty Barasa were on an assassination mission, police have said.

The well-known journalist died of a single wound to the face by an AK-47 or other combat rifle on Tuesday night last week in Oloolua Ngong.

The killers wore heavy industrial gloves and balaclavas, her husband Geoffrey Barasa said.

The men who killed Betty were in constant communication with unknown people over the phone. After Betty was killed, one man said on the phone the mission had been accomplished, “tumemaliza.”

DCI boss George Kinoti was to visit the crime scene on Sunday and generate as much public attention as possible. Detectives have been on the scene since Tuesday night.

They want to know if Betty  had expressed any fears for her life, who her friends were, what kind of friendships they had and if she was involved in any business deals.

“The gang seemed to have been experts out to eliminate the lady. The other things they stole were to cover up the incident,” a detective familiar with the probe said on Sunday. 

The postmortem report said she died of a single bullet to the head.

Detectives have recorded statements from her husband Geoffrey, their househelp and a friend to Betty identified as Tony.

Tony told police he was a friend, undergraduate classmate and neighbour. He said they were working together on a thesis and he hitched a lift to her house before leaving for his own nearby.

He said as soon as they arrived home, they were confronted by the gang and forced into the house where he and four others — the husband and three children — were subdued before Betty was killed.

The househelp screamed and ran away.

Police said Tony is part of the probe though the target was Betty.

Investigators said they were talking to more people of interest, including Betty’s colleagues an friends.

Detectives said they recovered a bullet head from Betty’s clothes. It is undergoing forensic analysis to determine if the gun may have been used elsewhere.

DCI officials said they believe the murderers were part of a well-planned murder plot.

Detectives now say that the robbery does not seem to have been an ordinary one, rather it bears the hallmarks of a mission to kill.

In most cases, force is only used when the victims resist or threaten to fight back or raise an alarm, they said.

Experts said the most obvious motive of murder is usually to hide a secret, as when someone comes across a closely guarded secret.

Her husband Geoffrey Barasa, 49, is the head of finance at the National Museums of Kenya.

“They were wearing head coverings so you could only see their eyes,” Barasa said.

A mobile phone they had picked from Betty was later found in the compound by police as they combed the area

Barasa said they grabbed his laptop but returned his wallet, which had an ATM, as they demanded money.

“They told me to lift my left hand and they pulled off my ring,” he said.

Betty was on duty on Wednesday and had left Broadcast House in the City Centre for her new home to join her husband and three children.

According to her family, three men had been waiting for her to arrive and struck as soon as she arrived with Tony.

The area is growing fast with the nearby standard gauge railway. Many people who bought land in the area are constructing houses.

Next to Betty’s house is a residence still under construction and neighbours said the gang had probably been waiting there.

The body was moved to Montezuma Funeral Home.

Ngong has been experiencing relative calm after an upsurge of crime in early 2000 led to an exodus. Thugs roamed there, killing and robbing from new residents.

Kinoti then, a middle-level officer, led a police squad in hunting down the gang and managed to restore security.

By The Star