Njombe. Relations between Mr Danford Nziku of Ikando Village, Kichiwa Ward, Njombe District and his nephew Joel Nziku, 35, had been frosty for a long time but little did the former know that their icy relationship would result into grief that will last a lifetime. Earlier this week, Danfold’s three children: Godliva Mwenda, 11, Gasper Nziku, 8, and Giliad Nziku, 5, were buried in Njombe after they were brutally killed in the ongoing spate of ‘ritual’ killings of children in the southern highlands region of Tanzania. Police in Njombe are still holding Joel, who is the son of late Danfold Nziku’s brother, in connection with the killing of the children.
Mr Nziku told The Citizen yesterday that although he is the one who personally took care of Joel since his (Danfold’s) brother died when Joel was a toddler, but things changed after the latter (Joel) reached maturity age. “Under unexplained circumstances, he started complaining that I was the source of his every misfortune.
He started hurling harsh words at me, saying I had bewitching him and that I have trained my three children in the science of witchcraft,” he narrated.
The relations went so weird that Joel decided to leave from his uncle’s house and settled at Makambako. “Whenever he came here, he would tell relatives to vacate just as he did, claiming that I am a very bad person,” Mr Nziku narrated.
One day, Mr Nziku said, Joel came to Njombe and dropped a used tyre at his (Mr Nziku’s) house.
Knowing that the two had not been on good terms for years, Mr Nziku reported the matter (about the tyre) to village leaders where, after being pressed hard, he (Joel) revealed that he would – in future – use it (the tyre) to burn his uncle’s house down.
On January 20, Mr Nziku and his wife were busy selling roast meat at a bar hall at Matiganjola Village. “At 6pm, my wife went home with meat so she could instruct the children to prepare meal. She found them there but when we returned home at 10pm, we were surprised to find out that all the three children were not in the house,” he said, adding that it was strange to note that they were not in the house yet the doors were open and that in the kitchen, there were signs that, they were in the process of preparing food before they left.
Thunderstruck by what they had seen, Mr Nziku and his wife started searching for their children’s whereabouts from their neighbours and that was how a brainwave of what might have happened pricked into their minds. “In the first house, we met the parents and one child, who said he was also playing with our children when Joel came with a truck, picked our children and left,” he explained.
Unsatisfied by the explanation of one child, Mr Nziku and his wife went to the second child who, according to the first witness, was also in the company of his children when Joel came.
“He also told a similar story. He said Joel told the two children that they were being invited by their parents as he took the three away,” he said.
Having noticed that the children had been taken by someone whom he was not in good terms with, he reported the issue to police at Makambako. Joel was arrested. To be sure of the allegations, said Danfold, Police paraded ten suspects who were picked from a remand prison. “Each of the two children – in turns - came forward and identified Joel as the person who took my children,” he said.