Cape Town – Malamulele police have launched a manhunt for the man who allegedly set a house on fire that killed a three-year-old boy and injured five other people last weekend.
The 29-year-old suspect allegedly doused the house with a flammable substance and set it alight while six people were sleeping at Plange village, Mtiti in the early hours of Sunday, December 11.
The suspect had visited his ex-girlfriend, 23, at the home where she was with her two children, aged two months and two years, her cousin and her two children, aged six days and three years, the previous day, Saturday, police said in a statement.
Following the heated argument with his ex-girlfriend, the suspect left, said police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba.
“In the early hours of Sunday morning at about 1am, an unknown suspect broke the window and sprinkled a flammable liquid substance believed to be petrol inside the house through the window and then set the house on fire.
sapsLIM Malamulele #SAPS seeks suspect who set house alight with 2 women and 4 children inside at Plange Village, Mtiti. Girl (03) and woman (23) died. Edward Chauke (29) from Gumbani Village to avail himself to assist investigation. Info -> 0825657919 NP https://t.co/3AaUGbEcDj pic.twitter.com/FWKOP26YH3
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) December 15, 2022
The suspect then fled the scene while the victims screamed for help and they were eventually rescued by community members.
“Police and emergency rescue services were summoned and the victims were transported to hospital in a critical condition. Police then opened a case of arson and six counts of attempted murder. Sadly, the three-year-old child, identified as Vunene Ngobeni, later succumbed to her injuries.
“The sixth count of attempted murder was then changed to murder,” said Ledwaba.
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The motive behind the incident remained unknown but domestic violence cannot be ruled out, Ledwaba said.
Limpopo Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe, has ordered that the suspect responsible for this horrendous incident be hunted down and brought to book.
“We appeal to community members with information that can lead to the apprehension of the suspect to come forward,” said Hadebe.
Police have also called upon Edward Chauke, 29, who is believed to be residing at Gumbani village to avail himself at Malamulele police station or contact the nearest police station as it is believed he will be able to assist in the unfolding investigation.
Anyone with any information about the incident can contact the Detective Commander Colonel Edson Rikhotso on 082 565 7919 or the crime stop number 08600 10111or the nearest police station or use MySAPSApp.
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Picture: Twitter/ @SAPoliceService
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe