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MAGWI COUNTY - 12 Feb 2024

4 children, mother burnt to death after husband sets house ablaze in Magwi

At least four children and their mother were killed in a fire over the weekend after the father of the kids deliberately set their house on fire in Magwi County’s Iwire Payam in Eastern Equatoria State.

According to local authorities, the arson resulted from a dispute between the couple after they drank alcohol which prompted the husband to buy petrol and set fire to a house.

The husband who has not been identified has since been arrested and is being held at the Magwi Police Station.

Alfred Okumu, the sub-chief of Amee Central where the grisly incident happened, told Radio Tamazuj the incident occurred on Saturday at 10 p.m. and that the petrol made the fire spread fast, making it difficult for the children and their mother to escape.

“The husband and wife once fought and the issue was resolved by his relatives. On Saturday, the couple was drinking alcohol and they quarreled, after which the man went and bought petrol. When his wife and the children entered the house to sleep, he returned and poured the petrol at the door and set the house on fire,” he explained. “Yesterday (Sunday), we went to the scene and we found that the woman and all their four children, three females and one male, and their mother were burned inside the house.”

Meanwhile, Colonel Paulino Lokete Iyaha, the Inspector of Police in Magwi County, confirmed the incident and urged the local population to resolve disputes amicably or seek help.

“This incident happened on 10 February at night in Panyikwara in Amee Junction. This man burned a house with four children and their mother and all of them died. The suspect has been apprehended and is now in custody,” he said. “The children do not belong to this man and he is just their stepfather. This is the worst incident that has happened here and our hearts are heavy because we have never heard of a man burning his wife inside the house. The law will take its course.”

For her part, Davidika Ikai, the Chairperson of the Eastern Equatoria State Women’s Association, condemned the arson which she described as premeditated.

“This is very bad and it was an intentional killing so justice has to prevail. All the men in Eastern Equatoria and South Sudan should learn that such acts are not good,” she counseled. “When you have a misunderstanding, it does not mean that you kill the entire family, including innocent children. People should learn to sit down, dialogue, and find solutions to problems.”