An Eastern Cape father who allegedly gave chocolate with poison to his children and a neighbor’s child has been arrested for murder and attempted murder.
Two of the 42-year-old father’s children have died, while his third child is in a suspicious condition in hospital.
Brig. Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said the tragedy unfolded Friday at the Magcakeni settlement in Lidbode, about 35 km northeast of Mthatha.
The three boys, aged between four and eight, were allegedly in the care of a neighbor while their mother was in Cape Town.
The father of the boys apparently arrived at the neighbor’s house on Friday afternoon and distributed chocolate to his three children, as well as the neighbor’s child. After eating it, the children started to get sick.
Kinana says the suspicion is that the chocolate contained the insect and rodenticide aluminum phosphide.
According to police, one of the father’s children died on the way to the hospital, while another of his children died at the hospital. His third child is still being treated in hospital.
The neighbor’s child (5) was later discharged in a steady state.
The names of the 5- and 8-year-old victims have not yet been released.
Kinana says the police’s initial investigation indicates that the three boys’ parents are not getting along. But police have yet to determine if the poisoning was done with premeditated councils.
Further investigations led police early Saturday morning to the local Renny settlement, where the boys’ father was arrested. He will appear in the Libode Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Maj. Eastern Cape Acting Police Commissioner André Swart expressed his shock over the incident. He also welcomed the arrest within 24 hours of the incident.