The suspect, Edson Mashoko, who is said to be based in Botswana, was back home when he decided to visit his ex-wife and engage her on the possibility of reconciling.
Sources said Mashoko went to his ex-wife’s homestead armed with five litres of petrol, which he wanted to use to “fix” her, if she refused to come back to his home. They said Mashoko demanded that his wife and child come back to him.
The incident happened at about 12 midnight in Mutandi Village in Chief Samambwa’s area.
“It appears the man was prepared to commit an act of arson. When Mashoko got to the homestead of his estranged wife, he knocked on the door and it was opened. He failed to agree with his ex-wife’s mother and emotions ran high. He quickly poured the petrol on the grass roof of the hut and the inside part and forcibly closed the door. He then fled from the scene leaving behind his shoes and cap,” said the source.
The source said only two members of the family escaped unhurt.
Police confirmed the incident in which Mashoko burnt a bedroom hut where Mrs Lucia Mwanza (65) was sleeping with her five grandchildren and her daughter.
They said five members of the family sustained serious burns of varying degrees and were first taken to Zhombe Mission Hospital before being transferred to Kwekwe General Hospital.
Mrs Mwanza and her daughter were later transferred to Harare.
Police identified the boys killed in the fired as Ali Mususa and Talent Mashoko.
“It is alleged that on the day in question the suspect Edson Mashoko armed himself with five litres of petrol. The suspect proceeded to Mutandi Village where he found his ex-wife Dorica Mwanza asleep in a hut with her mother Mrs Mwanza. In the hut there were also Mrs Mwanza’s five grandchildren,” said Asst Insp Mahoko.
The acting Midlands police spokesperson said on arrival, the suspect demanded to talk to his ex-wife. He also said he wanted his wife and son back, Asst Insp Mahoko said.
He said Mrs Mwanza told the suspect that it was not possible for him to take back his ex-wife and child, as there were still some differences between the two that needed to be addressed.
“Mrs Mwanza’s response did not go down well with the suspect, who then poured some petrol on the thatch grass before setting it on fire. The suspect then removed his shoes and ran away. Two children, Ali Mususa and Talent Mashoko were trapped inside the hut and were burnt to death,” said Asst Insp Mahoko.
Asst Insp Mahoko said two members of the family managed to escape unhurt while the other three sustained varying degrees of burns.
“The village head, Mr Calisto Mutandi, then sought transport and ferried the injured to Zhombe Mission Hospital where they were later transferred to Kwekwe General Hospital. The incident was reported to the police, who attended the scene. The deceased’s bodies were taken to Kwekwe General Hospital mortuary for a postmortem,” he said.
Asst Insp Mahoko said the suspect was still at large and appealed to members of the public with information, which could lead to his arrest to contact any nearest police station.
“Members of the public can also make use of our suggestion boxes.
We would also want to urge people to always seek for assistance from third parties, who include church and village elders, in settling disputes to avoid such incidents from occurring,” he said.