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NSW teacher shot dead during Kenya robbery

Kenyan authorities are hunting the bandits who shot and killed an Australian teacher in Nairobi while her family and friends in NSW reel from the loss.

Gabrielle Maina was shot dead in the exclusive Nairobi suburb of Karen on Thursday during a botched robbery reportedly involving assailants on motorbikes.

It's believed Ms Maina, originally from Armidale, had just dropped off her son at a friend's home.

Security company Insight Secure, which monitors local incidents, said a caucasian woman was killed by "unidentified assailants" and "a 9mm cartridge was recovered at the crime scene", Fairfax Media reports.

Before moving to Nairobi in 2015, where she was headteacher at the elite Hillcrest Preparatory School, Ms Maina taught English and drama for almost five years at Sarah Redfern High School in southwest Sydney.

The school said Ms Maina's former colleagues were shocked and saddened by the news.

"We remember her fierce support of students and teachers; she approached everything with passion, commitment and a good sense of humour. She was a true champion of our kids and community. We are all thinking of her young family; we send our love and thoughts at this difficult time," the school said on its Facebook page.

The 40-year-old's Facebook page suggests she was profoundly religious, and a dedicated mother and beloved teacher.

"One of the best English teachers ever!" a former student said on Facebook.

Another added: "You'll be missed - thanks for the high school memories."

In a statement to parents, Hillcrest expressed its condolences to Ms Maina's family.

"It is with great sadness and shock that we are writing to let you know that Gabrielle Maina, headteacher of Hillcrest Prep, has been tragically killed whilst out walking this morning," the statement published by Fairfax Media states.

In a recent headteacher's message to the Hillcrest school community, Ms Maina said she was excited to help her students achieve personal goals and become valuable members of a global community.

The school's website said the mother of two boys moved to Kenya "so her children can grow up with their extended family".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said "our prayers and love and condolences go out to her family and loved ones".

The Kenya high commission in Canberra on Friday said investigations were underway in Nairobi.

"We salute Ms Gabrielle Maina for her sterling role in moulding the lives of many Kenyan youth who went through her very capable hands since she joined Hillcrest School in 2015," the high commission said in a statement on Facebook.

The NSW Teachers Federation released a statement saying it was "deeply saddened" by Ms Maina's death.

"As an English teacher, Gabrielle was known for her passion for poetry as well as her work mentoring students from low SES backgrounds, which included running a homework centre for students," the federation said.

© AAP 2017

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