Six killed in Rongo home blaze as ‘cursed villager’ is avenged

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Villagers killed six people in a home of a man said to practise witchcraft in Nyangau village, Rongo constituency on Thursday.

The villagers took offence after Elijah Dwallo allegedly cursed a neighbour who was attacked by Dwallo’s son last year. The assailant was jailed for 12 years.

The neighbour Joel Awuonda and Dwallo had squabbled in December last year over the assault.

Villagers accused Dwallo of pointing “a witchcraft finger “at Awuonda telling him he will surely die.

On Thursday evening, villagers said Awuonda suddenly became ill and a traditional healer attributed his sickness to what his neighbour had said.

“Awuonda was complaining that he was dying as he writhed in pain. Villagers took him to Dwallo’s family to ‘reverse’ the curse, but the suspect refused,” Mary Atieno said.

Dwallo’s mother, 80-year-old Maritha Amollo, who is a traditional healer, was accused of being behind the curse and told that she was the only person who could remove it to save Awuonda’s life.

“They refused to heal him and said the pain and looming death was a result of the jail term of their son,” Atieno said.

The villagers responded by slashing Dwallo with a panga, but he escaped into a sugarcane plantation.The villagers descended on his homestead and set the houses on fire. burnt to the ground. Five people died in the blaze.The five were identified as Amollo, Dwallo’s wife Hilda Akinya, and their children in classes seven, three and nursery school at Opapo Primary School.

The “cursed” Awuonda also died two hours later. “When villagers were done, they went back and found him (Awuonda) dead,” Acharo Ouma, a village elder said.

The six bodies were taken to Rosewood mortuary in Rongo town.

Rongo OCPD Kibet Kirui said four other family members were seriously wounded. They are they admitted to Migori Referral Hospital.

Dwallo is also admitted to another hospital in Rongo town.

Police are are yet to locate an eight-year-old girl. It is not clear whether she was burnt or escaped the flames.

“So far we have not made any arrests but we are following leads and we will make arrests soon,” Kirui said.