POLICE have arrested a son of a late prominent elderly couple from Empandeni in Mangwe District, Matabeleland South, for allegedly killing his parents.
Lisani Nleya (45) was allegedly arrested at a prophet’s house in Bulawayo after sneaking into the country from South Africa.
He allegedly confessed to killing his parents during police interrogation.
Nleya did not attend his parents’ funeral and allegedly last communicated with his family before the brutal killings on September 1 last year at Mzaza Village in Empandeni.
Nicholas Kenny Nleya (83) and his wife, Margaret (76), were allegedly attacked by unknown assailants and workers at their homestead told police they fled when they heard Margaret begging for her life as the attackers assaulted the couple.
The Nleyas were both retired teachers at nearby Catholic-run Empandeni Primary School, and were staunch members of the Roman Catholic Church.
They were respected and looked up to by many people in the area. It is suspected the assailants beat the couple to death and set a hut with the bodies in it on fire.
The bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
Remnants of petrol bombs and dynamite were in the room where the charred remains were found.
At the time, a source close to investigations said four Molotov cocktails, three still intact, sticks of dynamite and an axe head were in the room, indicating a possible attempt to create an explosion that would destroy everything.
“There was also an axe head at the scene. It did not belong to the homestead. Their bodies were mutilated. This then might confirm the notion that the couple was murdered before being burnt,” said the source.
The source said forensic investigations picked that the couple bled a lot before death.
Family spokesperson Mr Patrick Nyathi yesterday confirmed the arrest.
“Police phoned to inform us that Lisani Nleya was arrested in connection with the murder case of our relatives. As a family we want the law to take its course so that we know the whole truth. We were not told of the details about his arrest, we are waiting but we hope he will appear in court. For now, that is what I can say,” said Mr Nyathi.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the suspect who was based in South Africa sneaked into the country and was arrested after a tip-off.
“The suspect came from South Africa and following a tip-off that he was at a certain prophet’s house to collect his belongings, police pounced on him and arrested him. He confessed to having killed his parents,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said investigations are in progress and he is expected to appear in court soon.
His arrest, a villager said yesterday, confirmed what was an open secret in the village that Lisani was behind the cold blooded killing of his parents.
Villagers who spoke to The Chronicle said Lisani was the black sheep of the family who deserted the army and headed for South Africa.
They said he was different from his siblings who had “made it in life” and appeared disinterested in taking advantage of the same opportunities his parents afforded the family through hard work and education.
Some alleged he had on a number of occasions, threatened to deal with his parents who he accused of bewitching him.
The couple was buried in one big grave just centimetres apart at Empandeni Mission Cemetery in a heart-tugging ceremony.