A COUPLE in Lusulu, Binga watched helplessly as its two daughters died on the way to clinic allegedly after consuming grain preserving tablets which they mistook for painkillers.
They bought the toxic tablets, which are one of the chemicals used to preserve grain from attack by pests like weevils, from a nearby shop.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North Inspector Glory Banda confirmed the death of Sibusisiwe Furunga (9) and Yolanda Ncube (8) of Ntivuli Village in Lusulu who vomited excessively, passed loose stools a few hours after taking the tablets and died just after midnight on Monday.
“I can confirm that we received a report of two juveniles that died from poisoning after consuming maize preserving tablets,” said Insp Banda.
He said police are investigating the matter although no one has been charged yet.
“Investigations are underway but preliminary reports indicate that the person who sold the tablets that killed the girls was made to believe that they had been sent to buy grain preserving tablets,” he said.
Sibusisiwe and Yolanda were not feeling well as they had a bout of flu.
Insp Banda said on Monday around 4pm, Ms Faliwe Sibanda (49) who is Sibusisiwe’s mother and aunt to Yolanda sent Sibusisiwe and her niece Siphiwe Ndimandi to buy pain relief tablets from the nearby shops.
Ms Sibanda gave Sibusisiwe and Siphiwe a gallon of maize to exchange with the tablets at the shops.
When the children arrived at the shops, they approached Mr Simbarashe Dhema (47) and told him that they wanted tablets for maize.
Mr Dhema allegedly asked the two kids to go out of the shop as he wrapped grain treatment tablets in a plastic paper which he tied up.
He allegedly took the maize and put the tablets in an empty sack and instructed the juveniles not to touch it but hand over to their mother.
Upon arrival at home, they handed the tablets to Ms Sibanda who crushed them and gave to Sibusisiwe and Yolanda to consume.
At midnight, both children started vomiting and passing loose stools.
Ms Sibanda took the remaining tablets and rushed to Ms Dhema to inquire and was told that the children asked for tablets to treat grain.
Ms Sibanda and her husband carried the two children on their backs intending to go to nearby Chishizha Clinic and after walking for about a kilometre, they decided to look for a scotch cart from their neighbours but the children died before they could get one.
The couple carried the bodies back home and reported the matter to the police the following day. The bodies were taken to Bulawayo for postmortem.