Kenneth Irungu: My 12-minute ordeal with knife-wielding female attacker

Kenneth Irungu

Mr Kenneth Irungu narrates to the press how he was assaulted for 12 minutes by a woman that saw him hospitalized for 10 days.

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri I Nation Media Group

It was about 4.30pm on October 13. A woman gave a man a thorough public beating and proceeded to stab him with a knife, inflicting life-threatening injury.

The attack on Mr Kenneth Irungu happened in Ngelelya town, Ithanga/Kakuzi sub-county in Murang’a County. 

“I was taking a leisurely stroll in the town as I checked on my late parents’ investments,” Mr Irungu told Nation.Africa. 

“I saw the woman seated outside one shop … Okay, we have a history together and we cannot be said to be that nice to each other. I do not know what got into her mind, for she looked at me contemptuously and spit and I immediately knew there was trouble.”

The woman rose and headed straight towards him. He did not know whether to run or wait for the unknown. She “grabbed me by the cuffs of my shirt and screamed words that I did not comprehend”, he said.

“I only heard something about money, that I had shortchanged her, and ‘what do you think we eat, and you thought you were smart’” before all hell broke loose, he added.

“Within a split second, I had been handed a mighty slap right on my face and for a moment, the world around me turned into that of sparkling stars

“I instinctively covered my face to prevent another slap landing there because I knew I would pass out. She is heavily built, while I am weakly built.”

As this happened, he could hear witnesses cheering, some urging him to fight back while others urged the woman to strike sense into his head.

“I am only 23, but I have been around long enough to know that you do not fight with a woman, because it is not a smart thing for a man to do. My only prayer was that she would now let me be after the slap and the many insults she had shouted at my face,” he said.

But he was mistaken. She proceeded to drag him to a greengrocer, swearing that “today you will die like a sacrificial goat”.

The woman then fumbled beneath the vegetables and retrieved a knife. Mr Irungu’s hope of coming out of the ordeal with minimal damage turned into a desperate fight for his life.

Fiery twinkle

She was still holding him tightly by the cuffs. “The sneer on her mouth and the nasty fiery twinkle in her eyes were enough evidence that the knife was not meant to scare me. It was for slaughtering me,” he said.

He screamed once, twice and as he was about to emit the third wail of distress; he saw the knife in the woman’s right hand go up and start to descend.

“The witnesses were no longer cheering – they were also shouting and screaming at her to stop. But no one was coming closer to us to physically protect me,” he said.

“I twisted in a desperate move to flee myself and kicked her in the groin. I saw her bend backwards at the impact and I immediately sensed excruciating pain in the top right of my shoulder.”

The pain gave him more determination to fight and the warmth of his blood dripping down to his waist made it a desperate fight for survival. He had struggled to remain alive for about 12 minutes.

“I shoved her off and I cannot tell from where within my body the energy to push her off me came. She staggered and fell about five feet from me as she held her knife,” he recalled. 

“Once free, I ran away to nowhere in particular. Some of my worried friends ran after me and I believed it was the woman on my trail to finish off the job of slaughtering me like a goat, and I kept running.”

The mad run ended at a nearby police patrol base, where he reported the terror under OB number 07/13/10/2022. He was taken to a nearby health centre, which said the stab wound was serious and beyond its capacity to treat.

“The officers, upon hearing that it was a woman who had assaulted me, taunted me about the abilities of an African man to tame a woman’s violence with sweet words and material wealth, and if push comes to shove, protect myself through legally acceptable firmness,” he said. 

“They even told me I was running away from love and that is why I was being punished.”

He was taken to Ithanga Mission Hospital, which in turn referred him to Maragua Level Four Hospital because he had lost too much blood and had difficulty hanging on to consciousness.

Maragua referred him to Murang’a Level Five Hospital, which admitted him. He was discharged on October 22.

“I was convinced that if the law was not to protect me, then I would end up dead because the woman was still being overheard swearing that she would finish off the job,” he said. 

“I went to the police post to start my search for justice. I was amazed by the sheer casualness with which officers treated me, asking me whether I was serious about launching a court battle with a woman.”

He said the woman was arrested on October 29 and released the following day, with officers telling him that “she had been warned against beating me up”.

Mr Irungu said he reported the matter to the county police commander, who has in turn promised to order his juniors to help him get justice.

“On December 3, the sub-county security committee, led by Deputy County Commissioner Angela Makau, visited the scene where I was nearly butchered and after addressing a public baraza, promised to investigate my case,” he said.

“My consternation is that my attacker attended the baraza and kept smiling and clapping for the administrators as they spoke, and I think I should now enjoy the peace she is keeping before the devil pushes her to attack me again.”