A mother’s anguished cry of pain alerted her teenage daughter to the ongoing brutal butchering of the four other members of the family and thus saved her life.
Aroused from sleep by her mum’s shouts and spotting her father’s lifeless body with deep panga cuts nearby, the 13-year-old ran out of the house and hid in the bush.
Some minutes later she saw the attacker rush out of the house holding his panga, pause for some minutes to pour some liquid round the house and then set it on fire.
By the time the fire subsided, nothing much was left of Suleiman Mwamtsumi (60), his wife Mwamisi (50) and grandchildren Mwanakombo (7) and Mwanaisha (9) as their dead bodies had been reduced to ashes at their home in Matuga, Kwale County, Kenya.
They had been killed by an unknown assailant who attacked them at 2am in the village of Mwachome.
The lone survivor, a Standard Six pupil recounted her ordeal: “I could see a man dressed in black trousers and a blue shirt but I could not recognise him.
“I ran to a neighbour’s house to seek help but the neighbour was afraid of confronting the attacker.
“By the time other neighbours gathered the courage to check what was happening, the attacker had fled and the house was on fire.”
Neighbours were at a loss as to why anyone would attack Mr. Mwamtsumi and family as there was no bad blood between him and his neighbours.
“We are horrified to witness such a heartless killing,” said one neighbor, who described him as “a polite and hardworking man who never provoked anyone.”
But other neighbours believed that a land dispute could have provided the motive for the gruesome attack.
Police are investigating the attack.
Mr.Mwamtsumi’s son, Said, recalled that his father had been involved in a four-year land dispute with a neighbour.
“Although the dispute had been resolved, the other family never gave up its claim to the five-acre property that was the subject of the dispute.
“We know those who were involved because they have been threatening our parents all along,” Mr. Suleiman said, adding that his parents had complained on several occasions about being harassed.
Mr. Mwamtsumi reportedly moved to the village with his family about 10 years ago after bought land from the locals for subsistence farming.
The police are investigating the multiple murders.