, NAIROBI, Sep 4 – Even as the DNA exercise on nine students who perished in Nairobi’s Moi Girls High School fire kicked off, it has now emerged that the inferno was an arson attack caused by one of the students.
A senior police officer involved in the investigation has told Capital FM News that they are questioning the student said to have attempted to commit suicide more than twice previously before she resorted to setting their dormitory on fire on Saturday morning.
“We have ruled out an accident in this because we have a suspect,” the senior officer briefed on the progress of the investigation told us Monday, soon after Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi told a news conference that the incident was an arson attack but he was economical with further details.
But the senior officer who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said detectives had established that in one instance, the student being questioned had unsuccessfully attempted to kill herself by swallowing a detergent.
“She will definitely face charges in court once the investigation is completed,” the officer said in what was also corroborated by another senior officer at Police Headquarters. “That is true, it was an arson attack by one of the students at the school.”
Capital FM News will not publish the girl’s name until the day she is arraigned in court.
Detectives were on Monday still taking statements from the student while seeking to establish if she had worked with any other person in committing the crime that cost nine lives of her colleagues and more than 50 others injured.
Detectives were also keen to establish from the girl’s parents on her background and what could have led her to commit the crime, with an initial report the school gave to police showing she had challenges in school where her parents were often called to solve.
The fire is said to have started from the prime suspect’s cubicle before it quickly spread to adjacent ones and eventually destroyed the entire dormitory housing more than 300 Form One students. The school has a population of more than 1000 students.
The government has already started the process of identifying the charred remains of the nine students which are preserved at the Chiromo Mortuary.
Head of Chiromo Mortuary Dr Peter Gichangi on Monday told journalists that DNA samples will be collected Tuesday morning ahead of the two weeks postmortem exercise