Neighbours at the scene where a man burnt his wife, child and himself in a house following a quarrel in Kieni, Nyeri County. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYINeighbours at the scene where a man burnt his wife, child and himself in a house following a quarrel in Kieni, Nyeri County. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI
By NICHOLAS KOMU

A man killed himself, his wife and two-month-old baby by setting the family home ablaze after a domestic feud on Wednesday in Kieni, Nyeri County.

The man’s sister-in-law, who was also in the house at the time of the incident, escaped with burn wounds.

Although the exact cause of the dispute is still unknown, the couple is reported to have had deep marital problems forcing them to separate.

David Maina and his wife, Esther Wanjiku, 21, had moved back to her mother’s house.

The two, who are said to be from Nyahururu, had only lived in the Kieni hone for two months. The man looked after his family through casual jobs while Esther was a housewife.

On Tuesday night reports suggest that the couple had a heated argument that forced neighbours to intervene.

HEATED ARGUMENT

“They had a heated argument last night that forced us to intervene and calm them down,” George Mundia, a neighbour said.

Things however escalated on Wednesday at around noon when the husband took a drastic move to end the lives of his entire family.

He was seen walking home carrying petrol in a plastic container. At the time his wife was chatting with her sister as their baby slept.

David locked himself in the house together with his wife, her sister and child. A few minutes later, their rented house went up in flames.

Preliminary findings show that the three were doused with petrol and set on fire. The couple and their child burned beyond recognition.

“The man doused the house with petrol and burned the family. They all died except for the sister who managed to escape with injuries,” Kieni East Divisional Police boss Michael Mbaluku said in an interview

Area residents rushed to the scene to rescue the victims but were overpowered by the flames even with help from the Nyeri County fire department.

MARITAL PROBLEMS

Eleven houses also burned in the incident. When the fire was eventually contained, the body of David was found lying on top of his wife’s.

Locals also reported that the man had in recent weeks exhibited stressful behavior. Some of the neighbours had on several occasions mediated between the couple.

“We had tried talking to them on several occasions to help them get over their problems. It never occurred to us things would go this far,” Mr Mundia said.

Police have initiated a probe into the matter as they condemned the act calling for other ways in dealing with marital problems.

“This is a beastly and cruel act. If a man and his wife have marital issues its better for them to part ways than act in such an inhuman manner. There are other solutions to such problems,” the Kieni police boss said.

The Kieni incident is the third homicide in the family setup to be reported across the country this year.