A man from Inyathi in Matabeleland North’s Bubi district is battling for his life at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo after he was was set alight by suspected robbers in front of his children.
Ephraim Sibanda (48), was attacked after he refused to surrender money during a raid at his home on Wednesday night.
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Sibanda was dosed with the fuel that he was stored at his home, Matabeleland North province police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda confirmed. She said:
The three assailants arrived at the complainant’s homestead, who is an illegal fuel dealer at around 1.30 AM while he was asleep with his wife Naumi Sibanda (48) and proceeded to a one-roomed thatched house where the complainant stores his fuel and they stole it.
The accused persons then knocked on the complainant’s bedroom window as he opened it, one of the accused immediately splashed fuel on his head and his bedroom while the other two were hitting the window panels with unknown objects demanding to be given money and other valuables.
When Sibanda refused to hand over the cash, one of the suspects set him alight. Added Insp Banda:
One of them lit a matchstick and the complainant caught fire including the six-bedroomed house he was sleeping in with his three children were awakened by his father’s screams and managed to escape the house, which had caught fire.
Sibanda’s wife and two other relatives, who were also in the house managed to escape the blaze.
Insp Banda said Sibanda was taken to Inyathi District Hospital before being transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital where his condition is said to be “serious.”
The suspects, who are still at large, are facing armed robbery charges.