Kenyans on social media have today rekindled one of their worst and heartbreaking memories about the infamous Kyanguli Boys secondary school fire in Machakos County that burnt 67 students beyond recognition on the fateful Sunday night in 2001.
Twenty years down the line after the incident sent shockwaves across the nation and beyond borders, heartbroken Kenyans have launched an expedite inquest into the whereabouts of the inferno’s architects identified as Davis Onyango Opiyo and Felix Mambo Ngumbao.
At the time they executed their evil act, Davis Onyango Opiyo was then a sixteen-year-old form three student while Felix Mambo Ngumbao was aged 17 and in the same class.
Felix Mambo Ngumbao in court
The two were found to have raised Kenya Shillings 600 which was used to buy 15 litres of petrol at a nearby service station to aid in executing their evil plan deep in the night on Sunday, leaving 67 students burnt beyond recognition and hundreds of others surviving permanent fire injuries. At the same time, property worth millions of shillings was damaged.
President Moi and Kalonzo Musyoka visiting the school after the incident.
The two students like many others in the school were allegedly not liking the new principal David Mutiso Kiilu,
Prior to the tragedy there had been an unsuccessful attempt to torch the principal’s office and the library.
On 19th April 2001, Ngumbao and Opiyo were arraigned in court and charged with murder in a trial that lasted for two years.
Their case was however terminated under controversial circumstances in December 2006 in what was termed as a mistrial and the convicts earned their freedom and disappeared never to be heard or seen again.
The 67 victims were buried in 6 mass graves in the school’s compound and their families awarded Kenya Shillings 40,900,000 compensation by the court. Each family was then to receive Kenya Shillings 650,000 for the pain and suffering.
Burial mass service of the 67 victims
The money however delayed but was later released in July 2019 where the government disbursed Kenya Shillings 54 million as compensation, accrued interest included. Each family received Kenya Shillings 857,000.
To date the government has neither issued an official statement on the tragedy nor given an official explanation on the trial.
Remains of the victims lowered to the mass grave.
The school has since changed its names from Kyanguli secondary school to Kyanguli Memorial
If the suspects are alive, then Davis Onyango Opiyo is possibly aged 36 while his accomplice Felix Mambo Ngumbao is 37.
Kenyans who are still nursing the trauma of the incident are now unanimously seeking to get any leads to their whereabouts.
In a search that has already gained momentum in major groups on social media, some of Kenyans have alleged that Opiyo is currently a policeman serving in the national Police service but under a different identity after he changed his name’s possibly to escape stigma.
On the other hand, his accomplice Felix Mambo Ngumbao is said to have been flown to the USA by his family for fear of his life and stigma in the country.
Another social media user who claims to be related to Opiyo contradicts the initial theory saying that he died and was buried sometime back.
One of the lists pinned in some of the 6 mass graves of the students who died during the Kyanguli fire tragedy that claimed 67 lives in 2001.
Opiyo(in red hood) and Ngumbao in court.
Have you ever heard or known Opiyo and Ngumbao?
Various reactions from sorrowful Kenyans included: