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Student is remorseful over deaths of colleagues

Tuesday April 1 2003

By NATION Reporter

A former Kyanguli High School student charged with the murder of his 67 colleagues yesterday regretted their death.

Felix Mambo Ngumbao, while denying setting the fire that killed his colleagues, said: "This is an incident in which many of my friends died. I am sorry for their parents and relatives but I should not be punished for something I did not know about."

Ngumbao told Mr Justice Robert Mutitu he was alerted that the school was on fire by a colleague.

"I went out of the dormitory and started calling out names of my fellow students but I did not get any response,'' he said.

He said he checked in the girls' dormitories where he found some being given first aid by their colleagues.

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Ngumbao and Davies Onyango are charged with killing the students on the night of March 25 and 26, 2001, at the school in Machakos.

The prosecution is led by a deputy chief State counsel Horace Okumu while the accused are represented by Mr Japheth Rachuonyo and Mr Nzamba Kitonga.

Ngumbao said earlier he had made several trips to a tap to get water for taking medicine.

He said at one time he ran into a watchman who demanded to know why he was not in class doing his night preps.

"I told him I had gone to fetch water to take medicine and he gave me the go-ahead", he said adding that as he was returning to the class he met a teacher who asked him his admission number and his class.

He said later the same night the headmaster called him demanding to know what he was doing outside. "I told him of my condition and he asked me to see him the next day."

Ngumbao said he spent the Saturday before the fire incident at Machakos High School watching games and returned to school shortly before 5pm.

The hearing continues.