24 August 2004

Kenya: Ngugi Kin Plotted Rape, Cid Boss Says

Nairobi — Alleged rapists identified as detectives put blame on author's relative

Detectives are treating a close relative of writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o as a prime suspect in an attack during which the author's wife was raped.

The Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr Joseph Kamau, yesterday told the East African Standard that investigators believe that Mr Chege Kiragu - the man who was co-ordinating Ngugi's visit on behalf of the family in Kenya, was involved in organising the crime.

Mrs Njeeri wa Ngugi was raped and the famous author burnt with cigarettes and tortured in the attack.

The August 11 atrocity marred an otherwise successful return to Kenya by Ngugi, who has been in exile for 22 years.

Yesterday, the CID boss said the evidence so far collected pointed to Kiragu.

Detectives are piecing together the final evidence against him and other suspects in their custody, he added.

At the same time, Kamau said four men who attacked the Ngugis at the Norfolk Towers apartments have been arrested and positively identified by the couple.

"We have the rapists in our custody. Let the public know this. And they will appear in court very soon," said CID director Joseph Kamau.

The four suspects are the guards who were on duty at the time of the attack and Kiragu's driver.

Kamau said detectives investigating the case suspect the attack could be linked to "domestic matters".

"We even do not know how we shall let the writer know that his man was involved in the assault. But we will let him know through you," Kamau said during a telephone interview yesterday.

Kiragu, an engineer, is related to Ngugi through his first marriage to Nyambura.

His mother is the late Nyambura's sister.

On the night the couple was attacked, Kiragu had visited them to finalise arrangements for the Ngugis' visit to their rural home the following day, where a family get together was to take place.

The couple had returned from Uganda that evening and was driven to the apartments by a driver from the organization that had organised the trip.

Four thugs confronted Ngugi as he was seeing off Kiragu and later robbed the couple of cash and property after torturing them.

Kiragu was not harmed during the attack.

Yesterday, Kamau said it was Kiragu who, together with other organisers of the novelist's trip, arranged for the couple to stay at the apartments.

The CID boss said the other four suspects had been identified by the couple in two parades yesterday morning and evening.

The novelist yesterday morning went to the CID headquarters where he stayed for hours before driving out. It is believed that he went there for the identification parade.

"The couple has been very cooperative and so far they have identified the men in our custody. We are now in our final stages of compiling our evidence against them," he said.

Police suspect the guards at the Norfolk Apartments switched off power supply to the electric fence before cutting the wire to make a hole.

Police have established the shop where the metal cutter was bought in the city centre.

The detective said the hole in the fence was meant to divert the attention of the investigators.

Further evidence shows that the guards muzzled their dog so that it could not bark during the attack.

The detectives are yet to get the guns that the gang had at the time of the act but Kamau said they were following crucial clues.

"We do not know whether they were toys or real but we are investigating," he said.

Police believe Kiragu's driver was fully aware of the attack and that he intentionally drove to Central Police Station to make a report in order to give the four men time to "escape".

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