Major Karumba wa Nyoike was a senior British Military Officer until his sudden death in 2016 just at the age of 36.

In a military with very few senior Black officers, the death of Major Karumba became a major concern to the British Army leadership and his colleagues.

Trained at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he had served in Afghanistan and Germany and had also served as British Army’s Telecommunications and ICT Director during one of his postings.

 He had been married to his wife Suchada Karumba for seven years until July 2016 when they separated. It appears the collapsed marriage took a toll on him.

 At the time of his death, he was leading a military professional course at Defence Academy at Shrivenham Barracks Oxfordshire. 

According to his colleague, Karumba, a very strict timekeeper failed to report to work.

 According to the colleague, this was really strange because it was the first time he was missing work. 

As a result, the concerned colleague sent him a WhatsApp message to find out what was happening to which Major Karumba replied ” Sorry , I overslept. I couldn’t sleep last night”.

Later the colleague, also holding the rank of Major, visited Karumba at his accommodation within the Barracks where they had a lengthy discussion with him. Karumba complained about his marriage issues which he said were really affecting his sleep.

Even though Karumba resumed work again, he became absent again on another day sending his colleague a message; “Sorry I overslept, I will be over shortly. I have booked a doctor’s appointment and hopefully, they will be able to help me sleep.”

The next day Major Karumba didn’t report to work again, this time never responding to any messages. His concerned colleague got a spare key from the reception and gained entry to his accommodation but they couldn’t find him.

Eventually, they broke into the bathroom which was locked from the inside with lights still on, and found his body hanging. Next to it was a suicide note and a will.

During the inquest into his death, his personal doctor told the coroner that Major Karumba had complained to her about being stressed.

Just three months before his death, his wife whom he had separated with, decided to move to the military Barracks where he (Karumba) lived and worked. With the divorce not yet formalised, she still had a right to accommodation because of her marriage to Karumba.

 However, they lived in separate houses.

According to her, the aim of moving there was so that their two children could be close to their father. But this close proximity must have affected Karumba even more. Seeing his estranged wife made it difficult for him to move on and his debts were also piling up.

Many wondered why a young man just in his 30s and holding a senior rank in the military would take his own life. But matters of the heart are very complicated and sensitive.

The Officer’s father Mr Chris Karumba Mburu had served as director of External Intelligence at the Kenya National Intelligence Service (NIS) before President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him as Kenya’s Ambassador to South Sudan in 2018.

In 2020, just four years after the tragic death of his son, he collapsed and died at his residence in Juba. The following year his wife also died.


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