Four die in suspected food poisoning

Four die in suspected food poisoning

As police investigate the deaths of four family members and two dogs, who were found dead on Saturday in Gutu in what is suspected to be food poisoning, cops in Mutasa have arrested two suspects in the killing of two seven-year-olds on their way home from school last week.

While food poisoning can be caused by accident, such as using an old chemical container or bacteriological contamination of the food, it can also be the result of poison added to the food. Hence the need for police investigations and post mortems.

The bodies were found with vomit coming out of their mouths and nostrils.

Police have since taken the bodies to Gutu Hospital for post mortem as investigations continue. Their names were still being withheld by yesterday.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations were still in progress.

But police in Mutasa have arrested Solomon Munyama (48) and Passmore Kumbirai Sambaza (23) in connection with the killing last week of seven-year-old siblings Melissa and Dilan Benza near Sambaza Village in Nyanga.

Bloodstained clothes and a bloodstained hoe were reportedly found at the two suspects’ homes.

The two Grade One pupils were killed on Tuesday afternoon when they were about halfway home from Mbaza Primary School, 4km away.

Their bodies were found the following day dumped in a disused toilet at an abandoned homestead after searchers followed a trail of blood. The bodies had deep cuts on their necks but were otherwise intact.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the arrested suspects are now assisting with investigations following information that Sambaza was the last person seen with the children before they disappeared.

Police in Mutasa arrested the two on Friday after searching their homestead.

“Clothes and a small hoe with suspected bloodstains were recovered from the suspects’ homes. Investigations are in progress. The suspects are now assisting police with investigations,” he said.

On Tuesday last week and after noticing that the two children were unusually late from school, their parents went to the school to look for them, but their teacher told them that all pupils had been dismissed at 1 pm.

Their parents started the search. They made a police report and the search party continued the following day and more villagers, including other school children, were involved.

About halfway between the school and their home, searchers found bloodstains on the grass and soil around an abandoned homestead. They followed the trail to a disused toilet with a metal sheet covering the hole.

One searcher removed the sheet, but nothing could be seen until the village headman was called and he brought a torch. The searchers then saw the bodies of the two children covered in grass with deep cuts on their necks. The bodies were otherwise intact.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the motive behind the killing is not yet known.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for a 45-year-old man from Mhondoro who allegedly fatally struck a couple using an axe and a knobkerry over witchcraft allegations on April 1 this year.

The suspect was identified as Freddy Makanganya of Denya Village, Chief Chivero. Makanganya, allegedly killed the couple after accusing the wife of practising witchcraft.

Tabeth Chiumba (71) and her husband Tayero Santumeya (72) from the same village, were killed at their homestead.

It is alleged that on April 1 at around 9 pm, Makanganya returned home drunk from Nyamweda Business Centre and started accusing Chiumba of being a witch and having a goblin in her possession. He went to the couple’s homestead armed with an axe and a knobkerry after having threatened to kill his mother Rosemary Makanganya (61).

He assaulted Santumeya who fled for his life leaving Makanganya with his wife.

The couple’s neighbours, Wensecelous Katsamba (43) and Tendai Makanganga (39), tried to restrain Makanganya but failed and then fled to get help.

They returned with Makanganya’s aunt, Mariana Makanganya (58). and found him questioning the injured Ms. Chiumba demanding her to release the items she used for witchcraft. They stopped him from further assaulting Ms. Chiumba but she succumbed to injuries sustained from the attack the following day at her homestead.

Mr. Santumeya was found lying in agony 50m from his homestead and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Ms. Chiumba’s body had deep cuts around her left ear and bruises all over the body. – Herald