Police are looking for a man who killed his 12-year-old son and seriously injured his eight-year-old daughter after they ate avocado from a neighbor’s farm in Tigania East, Meru County.
Mr Morris Kirema, 35, descended on his children with kicks, blows and slashed them with a panga, killing the boy on the spot.
The girl sustained deep cuts on her legs and is in critical condition. Their mother was also injured during the Thursday dawn attack, Mbaranga chief Kalung’e Mutia said.
The mother and her daughter are receiving treatment at Muthara Sub-County Hospital.
Tigania East police boss Samuel Kosgey said the suspect went into hiding after committing the heinous act.
Residents who spoke to Nation said the two children avocados from their neighbor’s farm on Wednesday and the neighbor demanded for payment.
Mr. Kirema is said to have sworn that he will kill the children, for stealing the fruits, once they returned home from school.
Mr. Frankline Mutuma, a resident, said the children hid in a bathroom before their father hunted them down and found them.
By the time neighbors responded to their distress calls, the boy had died, Mr Mutuma said.
Mr Mutuma attributed the attack on the man’s addiction to betting and alcohol causing family disputes.
“The man was enraged after he was asked for money to buy food. He frequently had disputes with his wife over his gambling addiction where he has been losing money,” Mr Mutuma said.
Mr Kirema threatened to punish the children when he learned that he was to pay for the avocados, Mr Mutuma explained.
Another resident, Darius Thirinja, said despite the government’s ban on gambling machines, the vice was still prevalent in the area.
“Owners of slot machines are still operating in Mbaranga. The agony caused by the loss of money to betting may have contributed to this brutal action by a father,” Mr Thirinja said.
But Chief Mutia disputed that there were betting dens in the area.
The body of the victim was taken to Meru Level Five Hospital.