PRISCILLA CHIPULU, CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
TWO children of the same family have died in Lusaka after allegedly being poisoned by their mother who is hospitalised after she too took the toxic substance in an attempt to commit suicide.
The children died as they were being rushed from the family home in Shadreck township to Chingwere Hospital in the neighbouring Matero township on Tuesday night.
Another child survived the poisoning allegedly prompted by the womanâ€™s inability to cope with hardships and her husband mistreating her.
The dead children are Mwiche Nakazwe, aged five years, and Dason Sikazwe aged one year and 11 months.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo yesterday identified the mother as Miriam Mulenga, aged 32 years.
Ms Mulenga said in an interview at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where she is receiving treatment that she took the action because she was tired of being ill-treated by her husband.
She told journalists her marriage has been unstable and turbulent for many years but that she does not have anywhere to go.
UTH acting public relations officer Natalie Nachikola said in an interview yesterday that Mrs Mulengaâ€™s condition is stable.
â€œMrs Mulenga is now aware that her two children have died while the third one is admitted to the childrenâ€™s wing under observation. Her condition is now stable and she is still at admissions ward,â€ Ms Nachikola said.
She, however, said Mrs Mulenga appeared to be in shock.
Mrs Katongo said in a statement yesterday that Mrs Mulenga poisoned the children between 19:00 hours and 20:00 hours.
Mrs Mulengaâ€™s husband, Goster Chisala Sikazwe, said his wife had been threatening to poison herself and the children each time they had a misunderstanding.
Mr Sikazwe said although the two never had major differences, his wifeâ€™s drinking habits were worrying because each time she went out she returned home drunk.
He said on Tuesday he was shocked to find that she had poisoned the three children and herself using an insecticide.
â€œShe locked herself in the bedroom with two of my children and my stepdaughter.Â She mixed the insecticide with water and gave it to the kids. My stepdaughter survived but my two kids died on the way to Chingwere Hospital,â€ a tearful Mr Sikazwe narrated between sobs.
He said his wife bought the insecticide on Monday on the pretext that she wanted to kill cockroaches in the house.
Neighbours who helped take the children and Mrs Mulenga to the hospital said the couple had not shown any signs of disputes.
Romans Tembo said she had never seen or heard them quarrel or differ.
â€œThatâ€™s why sometimes itâ€™s important to share with others when you are facing problems in marriage,â€ she said.
But her church mate Charity Phiri said the woman had been complaining about the torture she had been enduring in her marriage for a long time.
Meanwhile, police have received a report of attempted murder in which an eight-year-old boy of Chainda township was attacked and had his throat cut by unknown people in Ibex Hill.
She said the child survived the brutal attack on Sunday around 20:40 hours.
Police have arrested one suspect.
And BUTTYSON KANDIMBA in Solwezi reports that four members of the same family of Kandemba township in Mwinilunga have died of suspected suffocation while six others are admitted to Solwezi General Hospital.
North-Western Province commissioner of police Auxensio Daka said in an interview yesterday that the four were found dead in the house in unclear circumstances yesterday.
Mr Daka said the four are suspected to have died between Tuesday at around 18:00 hours and Wednesday around 06:00 hours.
Mr Daka identified the dead as Martha Fiyona, 70, Mark Kameya, 4, Iness Kameya, 3, and Gift Mutemba aged two.
Mr Daka named the six other members who are in hospital as Grace Yona, 56, Peter Mulonda, 22, Junior Kameya, 9, Jane Mbaya, 18, Rwidness Kameya, 22, and Charity Kameya aged six.
â€œThe scene was visited and our findings are that the bodies were intact apart from whitish foam which was coming from their noses and we found samples of vegetables namely cooked cassava leaves, cooked black jack leaves locally known as sokotela, local drink mukoyo and a brazier were picked from the scene,â€ he said.
Mr Daka said Police suspect no foul play in the matter but an inquiry has been opened.
PRISCILLA CHIPULU, CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka