Elizabeth Wangui, a woman who has for the past eleven years been the face of the infamous Kiambaa Church fire has died.
Wangui was one of the few people who survived the night of 1st January 2007 when armed youth set ablaze the Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Members of the Kikuyu community had taken cover at the church after tribal violence broke out in parts of the Rift Valley.
In the middle of the night, armed youth sealed the church’s doors with mattresses soaked with petrol before setting in on fire. Those who survived were either hacked to death or thrown back into the burning church.
At least 50 people, many of them women and children were killed in the brutal attack.
An emotional photo taken the following day captured Wangui raising her hands in apparent despair and wailing in pain.
It later became the poster photo for the chilling fire incident.
Wangui’s relatives said the deceased had been in and out of hospital since surviving the fire incident.
She finally rested at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) – aged 83.
The deceased’s nephew, Philip Gakuha, said her aunt’s situation was worsened by the fact that she never received any compensation despite numerous promises made by the government.
“My aunt had been raped by the youths and her son was burning inside a Church. Things would never be the same again for her. She started developing high blood pressure, depression and suddenly became mad, often losing memory”.
“After surviving the fire she was taken to an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp. But in a resilient move, she chose to go back to her farm to start life again but she was unable to due to her health. She became dependent on relatives as she had lost everything,” Gakuha said