Nithi crash: College student died while returning home after 2 years away

Boniface Kombe was among those who died in the Modern Coast accident in Nithi on July 24, 2022. [File, Standard]

After two years of being away from home, Boniface Kombe was hoping that the 11-hour journey from Meru to Mombasa on Sunday, July 24 would reunite him with his family.

Unfortunately, that did not happen as the would be 650-kilometre journey ended tragically.

Kombe is among the 35 people who have since died after a Mombasa-bound Modern Coast bus plunged into River Nithi following alleged brake failure.

The Meru National Polytechnic student, who was in his mid-twenties, was among 32 passengers who died on the spot. Three more victims succumbed during treatment at the Chuka County Referral Hospital.

Kombe was in his final year, pursuing a Diploma in Information Technology at the Meru polytechnic.

His friends eulogised him as a dedicated member of a commercial praise and worship group.

He often performed at Christ Is the Answer Ministries (CITAM) Church in Meru, Siloam Prayer Center, the Africa Let's Worship (AFLEWO), the International Christian Centre in Meru and other prayer centres.

Christine Hito, who was Kombe's friend, said he had long wished to visit his parents in Kilifi, and often spoke fondly about them.

"On Friday, July 22, he was excited about the thought of reuniting with his family after being away for two years," said Hito.

The deceased's friend described Kombe as a hardworking person, who besides studying, started a cybercafe business in Meru Town.

"He ran the cybercafe and earned extra income from performing as a praise and worship member in churches," said Hito.

Kombe was a talented guitarist, whose skill in strumming the guitar earned him fame and admiration in various churches in Meru.

On the fateful Sunday, his guitar was among the passengers' items retrieved from the wreckage of the ill-fated Modern Coast bus.

Peter Charo, another of the deceased's friend, said Kombe had a good sense of humour, and was a "great lover of coastal foods".

Another of Kombe's friend, Keith Kimathi, said the deceased's networking skills were admirable.

"I remember meeting him for the first time a few years ago, and he cracked jokes with me the way longtime buddies would," said Kimathi.

Kombe's body was among 32 taken to Chuka County Referral Hospital morgue after the Sunday crash.