Prime suspect in murder of 7 in Embu arson arraigned, to be held further

Boaz Wanjala

A Runyenjes court ordered that Boaz Wanjala; a suspect in an arson attack that killed seven family members in Embu be held for further seven days.

Photo credit: George Munene I Nation Media Group

A prime suspect in arson attack that killed seven  family members in Ngimari village, Embu County was arraigned but did not take plea.

Runyejes court ruled that Boaz Wanjala be held for seven days  to allow detectives record statements from prosecution witnesses and have him taken to hospital for mental assessment.

While making an application to have the suspect, locked up at the local police station for a week, the investigating officer-Mr Samuel Onyamasi told the court that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations ( DCI) was also yet to forward the file to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for directions.

Senior Principal Magistrate Josphat Gichimu allowed the application and ordered that the case be mentioned on January16 for further directions.

The suspect was brought to court under tight security and taken straight to the dock but he was not required to plead to any charge as investigations had not been completed.

Seven people including a Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidate perished in the arson and were laid to rest in the same grave during a sorrowful funeral which attracted local leaders led by Governor Cecily Mbarire. 

The victims were burnt beyond recognition at dawn on October 2, 2022, as they slept in their timber house.

The attack drew condemnation from the leaders who demanded that justice be done.

On Sunday, Embu East Deputy Commissioner Ms Jane Waruinge said at last justice would be served after the suspect in the gruesome murders was arrested.

"We lost the entire family during the attack and detectives have done a good job. Appropriate legal action will be taken against the prime suspect," she said and thanked relatives and residents for remaining calm throughout the investigation process.

According to detectives handling the matter, it is believed that the suspect had disagreed with his wife who fled her matrimonial home in Kakamega and was later married by another man in the Embu village.

The couple had two children together before they separated and after learning that the woman had remarried, the suspect allegedly sent a text message, threatening to set their family home on fire.

However, he is said to have mistakenly set a neighbour’s house ablaze, killing the seven family members, leaving local residents and leaders reeling in shock.