8 March 2014

Kenya: Five Burnt to Death in Arson Raid

Five members of a family died at midnight on Thursday in what an arson attack at Ngengeta village in Mutomo Sub-district of Kitui County.

During the attack a grandmother, her recently widowed daughter-in-law and three grandchildren were burnt beyond recognition when mud walled but iron sheet thatched house was set on fire as they slept.

The attackers were believed to have used a petrol bomb to set the one room house on fire. They had locked the house from outside to prevent the occupants from escaping.

Shocked family members told the Star at the scene that the motive of the attack was not immediately known. Others said they suspected some close relatives and neighbours had a hand in the death.

Those killed in the inferno were 62 year old Kavingi Mwango, 25 year old Mukene Mbuvi her son Sammy, 5, and daughter Katuku (one and half years) as well as Kavingi's niece, Kandongo Peter who was 13 years old.

The Acting Mutomo OCPD Paul Kipkorir who visited the scene and organised the removal of the bodies to the Kitui district hospital morgue said the motive of the killing was still unknown.

He said although no suspects were arrested, police were following important leads and were likely to catch up with the killers soon. He said his office was informed of the attack at around a few minutes to 1am Friday morning and visited the scene.

When the Star visited the scene at around noon (Friday) curious neighbours were milling around the compound trying to come to term with the killings. Most of them were huddled under house and tree shades as they discussed the incident in hushed tones.

The four walls of the house were the deceased family members were sleeping before death struck stood defiantly even after the roof caved in and all shutters were consuming by the fire.

The area Ndakani location chief Faith Makau within whose jurisdiction the arson took place said that it was suspected that the attackers believed to be three used petrol to set the house on fire. She said the killers were believed to be locals as their foot prints ended up in a nearby home.

"What makes people believe that it was arson attack is that two plastic containers that were used to ferry petrol and a match box were found at the scene. Three neighbours have also gone underground making locals suspect they had an hand in the murders," said Chief Makau.

Twenty-two year old son of the late Kavingi , Mutisya Mwango, said that the arsonist raided the home some minutes to mid night. He said it was surprising that the attackers did not cause any commotion.

"I was sleeping in a nearby house but I was woken up by my brother John who alerted me that my mother's house was on fire. When we moved to rescue them we were hopeless as the entire house was engulfed in fire," said Mutisya.

Mutisya's elder brother who escorted the bodies to Kitui Morgue echoed the chief's assertion that the attackers could have been some relatives. He said the family members. He said foot marks led to homes of close relatives.

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