FOUR families in Lubangwe in Hwange district cheated death when a villager allegedly went berserk and torched their huts in separate incidents in one night.
Police arrested Hloniphani Moyo (24) of Isla Farm in Lubangwe on Monday morning.
He had allegedly committed the crimes on Sunday night.
At one of the homesteads in Isla Village 1, seven minor siblings were sleeping when Moyo allegedly threw a burning log through the window and it burnt a bed and blankets.
Moments earlier Moyo had allegedly set alight a hut in which a couple, Mr Bhekimpilo Ndlovu, his wife Nkosinothando Mpala and their six-month old baby were sleeping in Isla Village 3.
The couple and the baby escaped unhurt.
Moyo had earlier in the night burnt down a hut at Ms Sithembiso Dube’s homestead in neighbouring Isla Village 1 destroying property.
Ms Dube is Mr Ndlovu’s mother.
“We just heard noise around midnight and when we checked we saw that one of the huts was on fire. The fire burnt a bed, clothes and some important documents,” she said.
Villagers apprehended Moyo at his homestead in the morning and handed him to the police.
They had identified him through some clothes which he left at an elderly woman’s homestead where he had sneaked into a bedroom and fled half naked after hearing voices of people approaching the homestead.
Villagers suspect he wanted to rape the woman.
Matabeleland North province police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed Moyo’s arrest.
She said two reports had been filed while police yesterday expected to record two more as four homesteads were targeted.
In all cases no-one was injured while the motive for the burning spree is not known, said Chief Insp Makonese.