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Man sets himself and family on fire

GRIEF and misery have gripped a remote village in Vihiga County after a man set his house on fire with four family members trapped inside, killing all of them together with himself following alleged domestic row.

The tragedy which occurred at Vindizi village has left local residents lost for words as they pondered what exactly could have gone wrong with a seemingly tranquil family. A 10-year-old girl (who cannot be named) and who is believed to have gone out to respond to a call of nature, however, survived the inferno, which besides her parents consumed her three younger siblings, including a one year old baby.

The other two children who perished alongside their mother, Abby Minyoso, were a girl aged seven, and a six-year-old-boy. After the man had killed the wife, he came to the sitting room and took two of the children to the bedroom, where he reportedly set them on fire. They were burnt beyond recognition.

The girl told the police her father had picked a quarrel with her step mother over unspecified issues late on Saturday night and the altercation continued into the night as she slept in the living room with the other two siblings.

Confirming the incident, Vihiga police chief Alfred Angengo said the 10-year-old survivor is at the moment assisting detectives with investigations. “Neighbours were waken up by the survivor but they could not access the house as it was locked from inside”, he said. The police boss reported that initial investigations indicated that the man, Gerishom Aluda, believed to be in his 30s was trapped near the door and could have died of smoke suffocation.

“We suspect that after the disagreement in the house, the man went on with his hidden intention of setting the house on fire before attempting to escape,” he said. Angengo said that initial investigations indicated the man had killed his wife before setting the kids and himself on fire. “We suspect that after the commotion in the house, the man killed his wife and then set the children on fire before attempting to escape, but was trapped next to the door and died due to suffocation,” said Mr Angengo.

The police boss said that Aluda, returned home on Saturday evening and asked if the family had any paraffin. “When he found out that there was none, he went on and purchased 5 litres which he hid in the house and that is what he used,” the police boss said. Villagers who had rushed to the scene to help put off the fierce inferno said they heard some commotion after midnight in the house.

“We heard children crying and I quickly got out with my family but then the whole house was already on fire,” said Boniface Aluda the deceased brother. Upon putting off the fire, the deceased’s other brother Tom Aluda said they found the bodies burnt beyond recognition. He wondered how his brother who has been working in Kakamega town could have done the bizarre act, yet they have lived with the wife for many years without having any serious quarrels. “We heard a child cry and saw something like fire emanating from the house.

We came out quickly with my husband and raised alarm, but then the whole house was already burning badly and there were no signs of anyone coming out from it alive,” said Sheila Kadesa, an immediate neighbour. Kadesa said that when they finished putting off the fire, they found the bodies of the deceased in the house.

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