Three people have been arrested over the gruesome murder of six family members in Gahama village of Byimana Sector in Ruhango District.
The trio, all close members of the family,are suspected of murdering a mother and her five children in what looks like a well-planned homicide.
The mother was identified as Josephine Kankesha and is said to have been in her mid-forties while her children, three boys and two girls were aged between four and 17 years.
Her husband is serving a five-year jail sentence after he was convicted for torching a neighbour’s house.
The lifeless bodies of the six victims were found early on Saturday morning lying in a pool of blood inside the family house’s living room, Police said.
The floor inside the living room was littered with blood, when The New Times visited the scene on Saturday.
However, it is suspected that the murder might have been committed on Thursday night.
Witnesses and Police sources reported “deep cuts” on the victims and suspected they could have been murdered using sharp objects such as machetes or knives.
A post-mortem was carried out on the bodies at Kabgayi Hospital and its results will help in the investigations, Police said.
The bodies were discovered as neighbours became suspicious after they spent days without seeing any one from the household. They decided to check on them only to find everyone dead.
On Saturday, Police forensic experts and detectives cordoned off the scene of the crime as they gathered evidence on the homicide.
The small mud-and-wattle family house was combed as detectives tried to unravel the mystery surrounding the deaths.
In a brief statement issued on Saturday and signed by Police spokesperson ACP Damas Gatare, Police said preliminary investigations indicate that the barbaric act might have been a result of land conflicts between family members.
“Three people, all close members of the family, have since been apprehended and investigations are ongoing to bring to justice those responsible for the criminal act,” ACP Gatare said in a statement.
“We call upon the public to facilitate ongoing investigations to ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice,” the statement added.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, the Southern region police spokesperson, Chief Supt Hubert Gashagaza, said Police continue with investigations to ensure that all those who took part in the murder are apprehended.
“We will not rest until the real culprits are brought to book,” he said.
“This is a tragedy,” Gashagaza said, while calling upon residents to always provide timely information before such crimes are committed.
“Timely information will allow concerned parties to devise strategies and come up with solutions to prevent such heinous acts from occurring,” Gashagaza said
Residents in tears
Ruhango District mayor Francois Mbabazi, who visited the scene of crime described the incident as ‘appalling and beyond human understanding” and vowed to ensure total justice to the victims.
Some of the neighbours who gathered at the house shortly after receiving the sad news on Saturday, could be seen shedding tears as they mourned the victims of the attack.
Epiphanie Mukakarangwa, a close friend to the deceased, described how her children were playmates with the murdered teenagers.
“They were nice children,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Jean Bosco Habineza, another neighbour, described the deceased mother as a cheerful lady who always smiled at any one and said he did not know of anyone who may have wished to kill her and all her children.
“We are puzzled. We cannot find an explanation for this. It is beyond our understanding,” he said.