A FAMILY in Siachilaba, Binga, is counting losses after losing 51 goats when an unknown assailant set a goat pen ablaze.
The incident happened last week Friday after midnight in Siamwinde Zuka 2 Village under Chief Siachilaba.
Mr January Mungombe, his wife Ms Gladys Mudimba and their four children aged between 11 and 19, were woken up by a neighbour who heard noise from the pen and rushed to the scene only to find the pen on fire.
The goats were being kept in a thatched hut that had been converted into a pen within the homestead.
Mr Mungombe said while he still has a herd of 10 cattle, the goats were a source of livelihood for his family as he would sell some to pay school fees for his children and for the family’s daily upkeep.
He said he is struggling to come to terms with the loss.
“We had 51 goats which we penned at around 6PM on Thursday and we suspect that someone torched the pen after 1AM. We saw footprints and I don’t even know the reason for this arson. This is a sad thing. As a family we are still trying to come to terms with it.
“I am trying not to think about it too much because I might die of stress because this is a huge loss,” said Mr Mungombe.
He said 50 goats were burnt to ashes in the pen while one initially escaped, but died a few hours later.
The goat had tried to escape through an opening, but got stuck on the neck and when Mr Mungombe rescued it, it had been badly burnt on the body.
It died in the morning after the arrival of police.
“We were woken up by a neighbour who came running after hearing the noise. I have never experienced such a thing and we are still in shock as a family. We reported the matter to the police who came and took statements but no arrest has been made.
“I don’t know how I will recover from this loss or raise school fees for my children because this was our source of income,” said a distraught Mr Mungombe.
Acting Matabeleland North police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Namatirai Mashona confirmed receiving the report and said investigations are in progress.
“I can confirm that we received a report about goats that were burnt in a pen and investigations are in progress,” said Insp Mashona.
Chief Siachilaba bemoaned the criminal act which he said was now rampant in his area.
He appealed for police presence in his area.
“I received the report but the perpetrator is yet to be arrested. What is surprising is that no one in the homestead heard the noise when the fire started and they were only woken up by a neighbour. People tried to track the footprints but to no avail.
“This is not the first time such an incident has happened. In January a family that had gone for an all-night prayer had its bedroom hut reduced to ashes after an unknown assailant set it ablaze destroying all property and cash. Early this month a woman and her little baby narrowly cheated death when a hut they were sleeping in was set ablaze by an unknown person.
“We appeal that police should have sniffer dogs that can help track down such suspects. We used to have a policed base at Siachilaba Business Centre but it was closed because there was no accommodation for police officers,” said Chief Siachilaba.