By Mkhululi Ncube
The family of an elderly couple from Mangwe that was killed in cold blood and the bodies burnt beyond recognition, has said the attackers only had the intention to kill as they ruled out a robbery that went wrong.
Remnants of petrol bombs and dynamite were in the room where the charred remains of Mr Nicholas Nleya (83) and his wife Margaret Nleya (78) were found on Tuesday last week.
Hundreds of mourners from across the country and abroad turned up to witness the couple being buried in one grave at Empandeni Mission Cemetery in a moving ceremony on Monday.
Family spokesperson Mr Patrick Nyathi said everything pointed to premeditated murder.
“We have no doubt this was murder with constructive intent. The extent of the damage is of people who did not want to be traced and who wanted to destroy any form of incriminating evidence that could be found.
“We are talking of a four-roomed house. If the intention was to rob, they could have gained access with effortless ease to the adjoining rooms but they did not do that. Everything happened where they were sleeping. The other rooms had valuables like TVs and solar panels which any ordinary robber who wanted money could have taken. They were left untouched,” said Mr Nyathi.
He refuted social media rumours that linked one of the couple’s sons to the murder.
“As a family we have no tangible evidence that we can use. We just want the law to take its course and for that to happen, the police and forensic teams must have irrefutable evidence because this is a criminal case that needs proof beyond reasonable doubt. We can’t work on balance of probabilities,” said Mr Nyathi.
He said the family has not been briefed about the results of the post-mortem.
“We are still in the dark with regards to what they found. When investigators from Harare came to the homestead, they said they wanted to compare what they saw at the scene with their charred remains. They just phoned to give us the go ahead to bury our relatives,” said Mr Nyathi.
A source close to investigations said four Molotov cocktails, three still intact, sticks of dynamite and an axe head were in the room, indicating a possible attempt to create an explosion that would destroy everything.
“There was also an axe head at the scene. It did not belong to the homestead. Their bodies were mutilated. This then might confirm the notion that the couple was murdered before being burnt,” said the source.
The source said forensic investigations picked that the couple bled a lot before death.
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigation are ongoing.
“We are still carrying out investigations and we appeal to members of the public to come forward with any information that can assist the police to account for the suspects.
“We cannot reveal any details at the moment with regards to our investigation as that might jeopardise the current investigations but we will work with any credible information we will get from the public,” he said. The Chronicle