In what is probably the most vicious and bloody of killing scenes this year, a 20-year-old man from Gokwe axed to death five people, including a mother and her one-year-old baby that was strapped on her back.
He extended the axe attack on a cow and its calf, while a couple whose seven-year-old son was killed, evaded death by a whisker.
The murders happened in Lusulu, Binga, last Friday.
Christopher Gotore of Marapira area under Chief Jiri in Gokwe also torched a bedroom hut at Mr Bruce Sibanda’s homestead in Marangana Village under Chief Sinamagonde, where the attack took place.
Gotore was staying at the homestead but it is still not clear how he was related to any of the deceased or Mr Sibanda.
The motive for the killings could not be ascertained yesterday.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident and said police were preparing a comprehensive statement.
The deceased are Mr Admire Nyangarai, whose age was not given, his wife Ms Bibeat Munsaka (23) and the couple’s one-year-old baby Loice Compassion Nyangarai, who was axed while on her mother’s back.
Others are Ms Chiravigwa Shumba, whose age not given but originally from Makope Village under Chief Sayi in Gokwe and Mr Sibanda’s seven-year-old son, Shan.
Mr Sibanda and his wife fled from the scene after failing to disarm the accused who charged at them.
Their other son, Tawanda, narrowly escaped when Gotore allegedly axed Shan in a bedroom hut they shared with the accused.
“On March 6 and at around 8PM, the accused proceeded to Mr Nyangarai’s homestead armed with an axe. Upon arrival he set a bedroom hut on fire.
“Seeing that his house was on fire, Mr Nyangarai went outside with a cellphone torch and Gotore allegedly struck him twice on the right shoulder, and he fell and died at the doorstep,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said Gotore then proceeded to a bedroom hut which he shared with Tawanda and Shan, where he allegedly fatally struck Shan twice on the head.
Gotore left the hut and went to a shed across the same homestead where Mr Sibanda was sitting with his wife Ms Gotore and Ms Shumba.
Upon arrival at the shed, police said, Gotore struck Ms Shumba once on the collarbone and the woman collapsed and died on the spot.
Mr Sibanda tried to disarm him but was overpowered.
Mr Sibanda and his wife fled from the scene with the accused in pursuit. He failed to catch the couple, police said.
Gotore allegedly walked back towards the homestead and proceeded to the cattle pen where he tied a cow to a tree before axing it to death. He also axed a calf. The two beasts belonged to Mr Sibanda.
Ms Munsaka, with her one year old baby strapped to her back, screamed for help while running towards Mr Sibanda’s bedroom hut to seek help after seeing that her husband had died, not knowing the couple had fled from the scene.
Police said Gotore chased after her into a maize field where after catching up with her, struck her with an axe several times causing her instant death. The baby was still on its dead mother’s back when Gotore struck it once on the shoulder causing its instant death.