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Man wipes out family over domestic feud

Neighbours say the couple frequently quarrelled and fought over various issues

Eldest child the only survivor in the tragic incident

A 74-year-old man allegedly doused his house in petrol and set it ablaze, killing himself, his wife and four children at Toll Station in Trans Nzoia County yesterday.

Absalom Kithaka, a retired prison warder, is believed to have set his house on fire following a feud with his wife Christine Nekesa. Reports indicate he set the house ablaze as his family slept.

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Neighbours said they were woken up by loud screams at 11pm and alerted officers at a nearby Administration Police post.

They said the couple quarrelled frequently over various issues including plans by the man to sell the family land.

“At first, when we heard the screams, we thought nothing of it because the couple quarrelled frequently. Little did we know that the husband had set the house on fire and the family was burning inside,” said Jasper Nandasaba, a neighbour.

The children who died were identified as Yusuf Oyombo, 15, Dorcas Oyombo, 12, Damaris Oyombo, nine, and Lilian Oyombo, four.

Eldest child

Only the eldest child, Leah Oyombo, 17, survived the fire and was rushed to Mt Elgon District Hospital with severe injuries.

Dr Alex Barasa described her condition as critical but stable and said she was responding to treatment.

The girl was rescued after the villagers and police officers broke the door and windows of the house.

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The rescuers found the rest of the family burnt beyond recognition.

Villagers said Kithaka had one child with Nekesa; the other four were from the woman’s previous marriage.

Security officers led by Endebess OCPD Wilfred Mogere and Kiminini Assistant County Commissioner George Ochieng helped to retrieve the bodies from the burnt house.

Mediated disagreements

Mildred Chesoli, the area chief, admitted that she had in the past mediated domestic disagreements between Kithaka and his wife.

“I always encouraged them to avoid physical confrontations and advised them to seek counselling but it seems the man was up to something different,” said Ms Chesoli.

Police took the bodies to the Kitale District mortuary.

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