A three-year-old baby was burnt to death after a fire gutted a bedroom hut, she was sleeping in on Sunday morning in Lubimbi, Matabeleland North.
The incident happened in Chiboni Village under Chief Kavula, on the boundary of Dete and Binga.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed.
“We received a report about a child who died when a bedroom hut she was sleeping in caught fire in Lubimbi. We are investigating what could have happened and the cause of the fire,” she said.
Chief Insp Makonese urged members of the public to always make sure minor children are monitored.
“We appeal to people to have extra care especially with regards to children who should be guarded all the time. Extra care should be given to children to protect them against all sorts of accidents the same way we appeal for their protection for different kinds of abuse,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said the matter is being treated as sudden death by fire pending outcome of investigations.
The deceased, who has been identified as Shallom Lilly Mnkombwe, was buried on Monday.
Police said the girl’s mother Ms Honour Mnkombwe (26) and her husband Mr Patrick Ngwenya (52), who is the deceased’s stepfather, left her sleeping in the bedroom as they went to fetch water around 6AM.
The borehole is about 1km from the homestead.
On their way back, Ms Mnkombwe and Mr Ngwenya noticed that their bedroom hut was on fire and they called for help from neighbours.
Neighbours helped to put out the fire but the child had already been burnt to death. All the property in the bedroom hut was also burnt.
A report was made to the police who attended the scene and took the body to United Bulawayo Hospital for postmortem.
Last month, four people narrowly escaped death in Hwange when a five-year-old boy allegedly set fire to his elder sister’s clothes in a wardrobe before the fire spread through the eight-roomed house and burnt all property.
The boy used matches to start the fire.