Zimbabwe–– TWO children of members of the Johane Masowe Apostolic Church in Gweru were burnt to death when a veld fire broke out during an open air church service commonly known as masowe, police confirmed.
Police identified the two girls as Tatenda Nyoni (5) of Southdowns suburb and Tafadzwa Butau (4) of Number 36 Shirichena Farm both in Gweru.
A witness to the tragic incident, which occurred on Wednesday at Key Land Farm on the outskirts of Gweru said the veld fire broke out from a nearby bush disrupting the church service as the sect members ran for safety leaving behind the two children.
The now deceased were trapped in the inferno, said a witness who only identified himself as Madzibaba Tafadzwa.
Madzibaba Tafadzwa said several other congregants sustained some burns following the incident, which he described as a curse.
I think this is a curse. Its very difficult to comprehend how all this happened. As we were worshipping, we just saw a huge flame approaching where we were gathered. It all happened within a short period of time and I only realised later that we were in a stampede as everyone rushed to safety, he said.
Confirming the incident, acting police spokesperson for Midlands Province, Assistant Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko, said the church service was being conducted in a bushy area which had tall dry grass.
He said the church service had about 50 congregants when the tragedy struck.
When the veld fire broke out from the nearby plot going towards where the church members were gathered, the congregants panicked and ran away leaving behind the two now deceased children. Most members ran into a nearby field, said Asst Insp Mahoko.
The two minors, Tafadzwa Butau and Tatenda Nyoni were trapped in the fire and burnt to death. The matter was reported to the police who then retrieved the bodies of the two minors and ferried them to Gweru Provincial Hospital for a post-mortem, said Asst Insp Mahoko.