A PASTOR from Enaleni Village in Bubi District, Matabeleland North, is battling for life at Mpilo Central Hospital after he suffered burns to 97 percent of body when suspected armed robbers petrol bombed his home.
Pastor Ephraim Ndlovu of Alive in Christ Pentecostal Church suffered serious burns while his wife and two minor children escaped unhurt when unknown robbers pounced at his home.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night when the family had retired to bed.
It is said that the armed robbers failed to open the doors to Pastor’s Ndlovu’s house and made their demands while they were outside.
They allegedly threatened to petrol bomb his house if he delayed giving them money.
While Pastor Ndlovu was still negotiating with them, it is alleged that the robbers threw a petrol bomb on the roof of the house and broke window panes and threw another one into his bedroom.
They are said to have got the petrol from Pastor Ndlovu who is said to have been illegally selling it.
Following an explosion in the house after the bombing, Mrs Ndlovu managed to escape to safety with two of her minor children who were sleeping in the next bedroom.
In a telephone interview last night, Mrs Ndlovu said her husband was in a stable condition.
“That is the word that I got from them (nurses). He has 97 percent burns to his body. I did not suffer any burns as I had moved to another room when the bomb was thrown into our bedroom. I was just cut by glass while trying to escape,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
Research shows that 97 percent of burns are very intense and lead to permanent scars.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited Pastor Ndlovu’s home in Enaleni Village and spoke to his son, Mr Fortune Ndlovu who narrated what transpired.
“It was just after 11PM on Tuesday night as we had retired for bed. I was awakened by my mother and father screaming. At that moment, we also heard my father speaking to people asking them how much they wanted. They responded by saying they wanted $5 000. We were still trying to figure out how we could come out of our room as we suspected that they could attack us as well. As the screams intensified, we gathered courage and opened our bedroom door. They were gone but the fire had almost engulfed the whole house,” Fortune said.
He said his parents could not escape from the main house as the door to the lounge can only be locked from outside and he and his siblings had the keys.
“When we finally opened the door, the room was filled with smoke. I didn’t even see how they got out of the room I just saw my father screaming from a distance. He was seriously burnt but my mother and two siblings had not suffered any burns. My father was just saying pour water but with petrol, the moment we poured the water it was like we were adding a catalyst to the fire. It got worse. He was also saying he saw one of the suspects, ngurasta (a dreadlocked person),” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said neighbours started arriving at the scene and his father was rushed to Inyathi District Hospital but due to the severity of the burns he suffered he was referred to Mpilo Central Hospital.
Mr Ndlovu said they had to demolish part of the house to retrieve property from another bedroom.
They salvaged a few things including a wardrobe.
A neighour, Mrs Nora Maguhudze, said the community is pained with the attack on Pastor Ndlovu’s family.
She managed to take the news crew through the burnt house which was reduced to a shell.
Church members were also in the house cleaning.
“I’m numb because of what happened here when I arrived on the scene, I was overwhelmed with emotions just seeing the pastor lying there screaming. He is not just my neighbour but my pastor as well. So, it was very painful for me. It took his wife to calm me down and we have been here since yesterday trying to clean up the house. They lost everything in the fire. Even the community has tried to track the footprints of the suspects but they got nothing because the prints end at the main road (Bulawayo-Nkayi Road),” Mrs Maguhudze said.
Mrs Maguhudze said Pastor Ndlovu was said to be in a critical condition and they hoped for his quick recovery.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda could not be reached for comment as his cellphone was unreachable.