Four students suspected to be behind the Moi Girls School, Nairobi, dormitory fire that killed nine students are due to be arraigned in court today.
Police sources privy to the investigations into the incident, which has been termed an arson attack by acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, said detectives had zeroed in on the four for prosecution.
The suspects, according to the source, had been taken to the scene of the fire as police pieced together information in a bid to reconstruct the events of the fateful Sunday morning.
“We started by grilling more than 15 of them, then nine, then five, and now we have four,” the source said.
“All I can say is, we have made a lot of progress and these girls will be arraigned before the end of the week.”
Meanwhile, several students have accused one of their own, whom they said had made her third suicide attempt that night, of starting the deadly fire.
Students who were interviewed by the Nation or called the newsroom said the Form 1 girl, who said she did not like the school, had confided in her colleagues that she would do “something that would make her parents know that the school was not safe”.
Said one of the students: “That girl always said she is from a rich family and was feared in school because she is related to some people in the top administration.
“She even had an iPod, and when the other students reported the matter to the prefects, nothing was done about it.”
Students are barred from having mobile phones in school.
Another student said the suspected arsonist was one of the few who take a special diet.
“I don’t know why, but she kept saying that the school was not good enough for her type,” a Form 3 student said.
“She also liked feigning sickness. She used to do a lot of illegal things and nothing would be done to her.”
She said the suspect was troublesome, vulgar and violent, so nobody had the courage to report her to the administration.
“She had tried to commit suicide twice. The first time was by drinking a detergent and the second by suffocate herself with a pillow,” the student said.
All the students interviewed by the Nation said the fire started from that particular girl’s bed.
But it was not clear what she used to light the fire.
“There are 10 cubicles in our dormitory, each with eight to 10 or 12 students.
"When we heard other screams, we went and tried to put out the fire but it was spreading fast and we ran outside. As we screamed, the other girls from the upper floor also rushed out,” a student said.
They said one of them, Mary Njengo, who has since died, urged the occupants, including the suspect, to run out.
“Most of the students could not even see where they were going because the lights were switched off, and also because of the smoke,” a Form 1 student recalled.
“Others choked and fainted and we pulled out the ones that we could. It was horrific.”
Several other students have corroborated this narrative but the Nation could not authenticate it independently.
The police also remained tight-lipped on their investigations.