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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Kenyan writer's wife was raped
Ngugi wa Thiong'o and his wife
Ngugi wa Thiong'o returned from exile last month
Prominent Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o says thieves raped his wife when the couple were attacked at their apartment in Nairobi last week.

Initially he said his wife Njeeri had been close to being raped.

The couple recently returned from the United States to Kenya after 22 years of exile and are due to be released from Nairobi Hospital on Monday.

Asked if he regretted returning from the US, he said: "I am a Kenyan, this is my country for better or for worse."

The writer told a news conference at the hospital: "It's for me and everybody else to make it a Kenya that it can be"


Four thieves broke into their apartment on Wednesday night armed with guns and a machete, beating up the couple, burning him with cigarettes and stealing money, a laptop and papers.

Penguin book cover of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's book Petals of Blood

"In her case it was not attempted rape. It was rape, period," Ngugi said.

He was given a hero's welcome when he returned from the United States last month.

"There is a saying that we should not let people who do not like what we are doing kill our spirit and therefore we are continuing with our [lecture] programme," he told reporters.

His politically charged writing led to his arrest in 1977 and he spent a year in detention without trial.

In 1982 he went into self-imposed exile in London, and then took up residence in the United States where he taught comparative literature.

After his novel, Petals of Blood, which was written in 1977, he gave up writing in English to write in Kikuyu.

Police said they believed the attack was not politically motivated and have launched a manhunt for the gang.

His apartment is in a relatively secure part of the city - although Nairobi is often called "Nairobbery" by residents, such is its reputation for muggings and hijackings.

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