Njombe. Three suspects of brutal killings of children in Njombe appeared before the Njombe Resident Magistrate Court on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, facing various murder charges.
Joel Joseph Nziku, Nasson Alfred Kaduma and Alphonce Edward Danda were arraigned at around noon on Tuesday.
Security was tight when the three suspects were being brought before the court.
Six vehicles – carrying armed police officers – escorted the one (vehicle) carrying the suspects all the way from Makambako where they had been held since they were arrested in connection with the killings of innocent children.
Makambako is some 60 kilometres away from Njombe.
Regional authorities say at least ten children have been killed in Njombe in a period of one month and that the killers were also chopping off the children's reproductive and respiratory organs in the killings that are linked to superstitious beliefs.
Joel Joseph Nziku is being suspected of killing three children: Godliva Mwenda (11), Gasper Nziku (8) na Giliad Nziku (5) who belonged to the same family.
It is reported that Joel kidnapped the three children – whose father is his (Joel’s) own uncle, Danfold Nziku – when they (the children) were playing outside their parents’ house on January 20, 2019 before they were found dead, with missing body parts almost one week later.
Danfold told The Citizen late last month that though he was the one who personally took care of Joel since his (Danfold’s) brother died when Joel was a toddler, things changed after the latter (Joel) reached maturity stage.
“Under unexplained circumstances, he started complaining that I was the source of his every misfortune….He started throwing harsh words at me, saying I was 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,” Danfold narrated.
One day, Danfold said, Joel came to Njombe and dropped a used tyre at his (Danfold’s) house.
Knowing that the two had not seen eye to eye for years, Danfold reported the issue (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 20th January, 2019, Danfold and his wife were busy selling roast meat at a bar hall at Matiganjola Village in Njombe. “At 6:00pm, my wife went home with meat so she could instruct the children to cook food. She found them there but when we returned home at 10:00pm, we were suprised to find out that all the three kids were not in the house,” he said, adding that it was strange to note that the kids 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, Danfold 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 together with our children when Joel came with a Fuso-type vehicle; picked our children and left,” he explained.
Unsatisfied by the explanation of one child, Danfold 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, the 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, noting that when it was time to identify the vehicle that was used, each of the two children came in turns and identified the very same vehicle.