A gruesome tragedy struck in Chitimbe Village, Muzarabani as three people – including a 12-year old boy – perished in a suspected arson attack early Monday morning.
The victims – 70-year old Eretina Chimuka, her 65-year old aunt Emily Kamugiya, and Eretina’s 12-year old grandson Maxwell Jose – were burnt beyond recognition after their thatched roof bedroom hut was set ablaze in the night.
When their badly burnt remains were found, Eretina and Maxwell were lying by the wall just 80 centimetres from the locked door, indicating they had tried to escape the inferno.
DNA samples were collected from the victims’ remains to confirm their identities as the bodies were charred beyond visual recognition.
Reports say around 9pm, the trio had retired to bed in the thatched hut at Eretina’s homestead. At midnight, their neighbor Letwin Mutemadaro was awoken by cries for help coming from Eretina’s home.
Letwin rushed outside and saw the hut engulfed in flames. She called out to the victims but soon realized the hut had been locked from the outside, trapping them inside.
Letwin fetched an axe to break open the door while summoning other villagers to help douse the fire. However, by the time she returned, the thatched roof had already collapsed and the three victims had perished in the inferno.