A Marange man is currently on the run after he hacked his two minor children to death with a machete and attempted to slay his wife and her father on July 13th.
Before going on a rampage, Steward Chimbango said to his wife Ms Mutsawashe Mukobo: “We swore that only death will do us part and now it will do just that. As I have been your one and only husband, you shall also be my first and last wife. Now that you no longer love me, this will be the end of your life and after killing you, I will kill myself. Goodbye Mutsawashe.”
Police have since launched a manhunt for 34-year-old Chimbango who disappeared into the Rukandamo Mountain shortly after the gruesome murder of his two sons – Christian (five) and Cloud (one) Chimbango.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Nobert Muzondo confirmed the incident.
“He hacked both his children on their heads with the machete and they were found lying in a pool of blood at their parents’ homestead. They were lying three metres apart from each other.
“We are appealing to members of the public to report to the nearest police station if they spot Chimbangu. We are treating him as a dangerous criminal,” said Inspector Muzondo.
He said Chimbango and his wife, Ms Mukobo (22), had a long standing domestic dispute, resulting in their separation in May.
During their separation, Chimbango took custody of the two minors.
“On July 12, Chimbango called his father-in-law, Mr Davison Mukobo, and asked him to come and collect his daughter’s belongings. The next day, Ms Mutsawashe Mukobo, Mr Davison Mukobo and his brother Ebern Mukobo proceeded to Chimbango’s home in Chipfatsura Village.
“Mr Davison Mukobo tried to settle the couple’s dispute, but failed. Mr Mukobo then instructed his daughter to pack her belongings. While Mutsawashe was inside the hut, Chimbango followed her and drew a metre-long machete from the thatched roof. Mutsawashe alerted her father, but Chimbango charged towards his in-laws while brandishing the machete.
“Ebern bolted from the scene and Chimbango hacked Davison with the machete once on the back. He fell down and was struck again on the head,” said Inspector Muzondo.
Chimbango is alleged to have attacked Ms Mukobo before turning to his two children.
They died instantly.
He dumped the machete in a disused well and disappeared.
Ms Mukobo sustained cuts all over the body.
She was rushed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital where she was treated and discharged the following day.
She is currently nursing her injuries at home in Muoko Village.
Her father is in a critical condition at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital where he is admitted.
He lost his left ear and also sustained a deep cut on the head during the attack.
The Chimbango homestead atop Rukandamo Mountain last week Friday, and the place was deserted, with bloodstains all over the place.
Narrating her experience, Ms Mukobo could hardly talk due to both emotional and physical pain.
She said her life is shattered because of her children’s brutal murder.
Ms Mukobo said after arming himself with the machete, Chimbango locked her inside the hut and proceeded to attack her father.
After viciously attacking his father-in-law, Chimbango charged towards Ms Mukobo and hacked her with the machete.
He then carried her and threw her into a five-metre deep disused well.
He went on to murder the children and allegedly went back to the well with the machete and other sharp tools and threw them in there to finish his wife off.
“I fainted and when I regained consciousness, it was quiet. I managed to climb outside the well using a tree root. I called my children, but they did not answer and I ran away.
“I wasn’t aware my children were already dead. I will never forgive myself for staying too long in that well, maybe I could have saved my children,” she wept.
Ms Mukobo described her husband as a soft spoken person who changed his behaviour when he joined illegal gold panners in Odzi last year.
“He always had his machete and whip next to him. Peace evaded our marriage soon after he acquired that machete. He would sharpen it daily and would always say he would kill someone with it. This came to pass, but unfortunately the victims were his innocent children,” said the distraught woman.
Ms Mukobo’s uncle, Ebern, said he is yet to come to terms with the gory incident.
“After Mutsawashe got into the house to collect her things, Chimbango followed her and that is when we heard her shouting that he was coming out with a machete. He charged towards us shouting that he wanted to kill us. He struck my brother twice on the head. He thought he had killed him because he shouted that he had killed him and that is when I ran for my dear life.
“I was tripped by something and fell into a pit at the homestead and that saved my life. I spent 45 minutes in that pit and when I finally managed to escape, it was quiet,” he narrated.
A neighbour, Mr Enos Mukotekwa who first saw Mr Mukobo as he was running away from the Chimbango homestead said: “I saw someone running and staggering, as if he was drunk. When he was about 10 metres from the foot on the mountain, he fell down.
“I rushed to check on him as he was shouting for help. He had blood all over his clothes and there was a deep cut on his head. His left ear was missing. It was scary. He told us what had happened. By then he did not know that his grandchildren had been killed,” said Mr Mukotekwa.
Another villager, Ms Chipo Chinheya, said they will continue living in fear if Chimbango is not brought to book.
“He used to lead a normal life in this village until his family moved to the mountain last year. Everyone was shocked. As you might have observed, climbing the mountain to reach his homestead is not an easy task. They rarely had visitors because of that. I suspect he had been planning this murder all along and that is why he took his family to live in solitude,” said Ms Chinheya.
The murder weapons were all recovered from the well he threw them into.