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New details emerge of brutal acid attack on teen that touched President Ruto’s heart

On April 7, Beth Wambui, then two weeks shy of 18 years, left home in the evening after lying to her mother that she was visiting a friend at the nearby Kenol Town in Murang’a County.

It later emerged that she had gone to a bar where her peers were throwing a birthday party for one of them, which turned deadly.

According to an ongoing investigation into her murder, things went wrong at the party and she was abducted, stabbed several times and had acid poured on her body.

Beth Wambui
Beth Wambui before the acid attack. PHOTO| POOL

Hospitalised for over a month at a private facility in Kenol town, her medical bill rose to Sh2.2 million, of which President William Ruto donated Sh1.5 million through Murang’a Woman Rep Betty Maina.

At Wambui’s burial in Karugia village in Kandara Constituency on June 7, Ms Maina read out the Head of State’s condolence message.

“It is with a heavy heart that I send my condolences on the passing of Beth… She fought her injuries with a brave heart and underwent five corrective surgeries… and we were prepared to foot the bills if that was what it took to see her live. But God took her home. It is a sad story that should not go unnoticed because of the cruelty with which it happened. Our judiciary must be seen, heard and felt to work swiftly for her justice as this is a clear case of sexual and gender-based violence that must not go unpunished,” read President Ruto’s message.

Beth Wambui
Beth Wambui’s sombre funeral. PHOTO © POOL

According to a preliminary police report sent to Murang’a County Security Committee chairman Joshua Nkanatha, the girl is said to have visited two bars on the fateful day — Club Michigan and Club 126, both in Kenol Town. According to witnesses listed in the preliminary investigation report, the girl was first seen at Club Michigan attending the birthday bash of one of her friends. She later left the bar in the company of several friends — both male and female — and went to Club 126 to indulge in what her agemates describe as party after party,” the report reads in part.

The report adds she was seen arguing with some of her friends, “but at around 10pm they all left the place on three motorbikes.

She was found fighting for her life by passers-by two hours later, two kilometres from the party zone, dumped near Kabati Police Station.

“Police from the station were informed of the incident and arrived and took her to a nearby public hospital, but due to the then ongoing strike by health workers, she was transferred to a private hospital in a critical condition. The incident was recorded at 40 minutes past midnight at the station under the reference OB/No 04/08/04/24,” the report states. The report says:

“Her observable injuries when she was found included burns to the face, chest, abdomen, thighs and legs, her right ear and both breasts were severed, preliminary investigations deduced that the burns were as a result of an acid. Meanwhile, on April 21, Murang’a South Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murungi ordered closure of the mentioned joints.

Beth Wambui in hospital before she died, visited by Murang’a Woman Representative Betty Maina. PHOTO| POOL

“I have ordered the immediate and indefinite closure of Michigan and Club 126 bars, which have been confirmed to have admitted minors and given them uncensored access to an environment that contravenes both the Alcoholic Beverages Control and the Children’s Act,” Mr Murungi said.

He said Wambui was a few weeks away from reaching the age of consent, hence the two bars had violated the law by allowing her to party in them. The girl’s parents, Peter Kirii and Esther Njeri, are demanding for justice.

“My daughter had told the police that five people were responsible for her attack. The police had earlier arrested three of them but released them under unclear circumstances,” said Mr Kirii. Murang’a Police Commander Mathiu Kainga said: “We are taking this case with all the seriousness it deserves and it is a matter of time before we crack it.” He added: “ We are following important leads and have formulated possible motives that influenced the attack.”

“We are pursuing the possibility of some of her female friends fighting over a boyfriend, a drug-induced vicious attack as well as possible revenge from other families who allegedly accused one of her close family members of defiling neighbouring girls,” he said.

MP Maina said: “We are not looking for fairy tales from the police as I have since informed the President that no suspect has been arrested… I have also informed Home Affairs CS Kithure Kindiki that his officers must get us the real culprit(s) and this family must get justice.”

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