AN ex-jailbird from Plumtree allegedly locked his neighbour’s two children in a kitchen hut before torching the room to fix their father with whom he had a long standing grudge, a magistrate heard.
Khulumani Ndebele (32) of Mpoengs was arrested after shoeprints at the scene led villagers to his homestead.
The two juveniles escaped unhurt after their father, Mr Cain Ndlovu, heard them screaming and woke up.
He found the hut in which his children were sleeping in flames and destroyed the door using an axe to save them. The hut was razed to the ground.
Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Crispen Mberewere heard this when Ndebele appeared before him facing two counts of attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
He was remanded in custody to June 23 for continuation of trial.
“Ndebele and Ndlovu had a misunderstanding and Ndebele threatened to deal with his neighbour. He then proceeded to Ndlovu’s homestead at around 1AM and found the family asleep,” said Mr Manyiwa.
The court heard that Ndebele went to the kitchen hut where the two boys Mafana Ndlovu (6) and eight-year-old Ndingilizi Ndlovu were sleeping.
Ndebele fastened the kitchen door with a rope from outside and set the hut on fire before fleeing from the scene.
Mr Ndlovu, who was sleeping in another room with his wife, heard his children screaming and went to investigate.
“Ndlovu managed to save his children from the burning hut but all the property which was in the kitchen hut was reduced to ashes,’’ said Mr Manyiwa.
The court heard that at day break, villagers saw some shoeprints at the scene of the incident which led them to Ndebele’s homestead.
Investigations led to Ndebele’s arrest. Property valued at $350 was lost in the inferno.
Ndebele recently completed a two-year jail sentence after he was convicted in 2012 of burning down another villager’s homestead. chronicle