A 21-year-old gold panner allegedly fatally axed his father and brother in cold blood after accusing the elderly man of bewitching him.

Alster Chikafa, in a rampage that lasted about two hours, allegedly axed two oxen belonging to his father Mr Mathias Chikafa (62) and burnt a neighbour’s hut before committing the blood-curdling murders.

A family source from Mabharani village, Gokwe South where the incident occurred on Monday last week, said villagers teamed up and tied up Alster who appeared possessed.

“Alster was shouting that he wanted to kill more people. Many villagers were involved in the scuffle to subdue him before handing him over to the police.

“He had recently returned from his gold panning in Mazowe. He accused his father of bewitching him causing him to lead a life of poverty despite making a lot of money from gold panning,” said the source, who asked not to be named.

According to a neighbour, Mr Tymon Moyo, Alster began his death threats at around 10am.

“He was saying ‘I feel like killing someone today’ as he was brandishing an axe in a scary manner. He turned on two oxen and axed them to death,” said Mr Moyo.

“He dashed to his neighbour, Nyaradzai Nduna’s homestead and set fire to his bedroom hut. He was shouting that Nduna would die because he owes him a lot of money and had cheated him as they shared proceeds from their gold panning.”

Seeing the rising smoke at Mr Nduna’s homestead, Mr Moyo said, the elderly Chikafa rushed to the scene and Alster struck him three times on the head.

“He said he wanted to finish him off and called him the devil’s agent,” said another neighbour Mr Tabeth Musarara.

“After the attack, Mr Chikafa who was bleeding profusely, staggered to a neighbour’s homestead where he sought help.”

Villagers said Mr Chikafa’s other son Alfred (26) rushed to the scene.

“Alfred tried to calm down his brother but Alster struck him five times on the head and he died on the spot,” said Mr Moyo.

A neighbour rushed Mr Chikafa to Gokwe District Hospital where he spent two days before being transferred to Gweru General Hospital where he died on Wednesday.

Mr Chifaka is survived by wife and nine children. Alfred is survived by two children. The pair were buried on Saturday at Mabharani village.

Chief Chisina, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, yesterday confirmed the incident.

“It’s a shocking incident that has never happened in this area. Everyone is shocked following this tragedy.

“I have engaged village head (Mabharani) of the area so that we sit down with the family and local leadership to plan how the homestead can be cleansed. I would like to advise community members not to take the law into their hands. They should engage village heads or chiefs when a misunderstanding arises,” said the chief.

Ward 25 councillor, Chisina 3, Shungu Maruza, said: “I heard Alster was accusing his father of bewitching him. They were buried on Saturday but I did not attend the funeral because I was at the Zanu PF conference In Goromonzi.”

Midlands acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende said she was yet to receive the report on the murders.

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