By Tsitsi Matope
MASERU — A woman and her son are battling for their lives in hospital after their house was gutted by fire while they were asleep during the early hours of last Friday in Lipelaneng, Butha-Buthe.
Police have said evidence shows the fire was intentionally started by an unknown suspect.
According to the police, the woman, 35, sustained severe burns on the chest while she made attempts to put out the fire together with some neighbours who had come to help.
Her son, aged nine, also sustained serious injuries on the head, face and left arm.
The two were admitted at Butha Buthe District Hospital on Friday morning.
Police said they suspected someone had poured petrol or diesel under the door of the room where the victims had been sleeping before setting the place ablaze.
Police spokesperson Inspector Thato Ramarikhoane said property valued at about M10 000 was destroyed.
“This includes the bed, wardrobe, kitchen and dining items and all the victims’ clothes. The woman is unemployed,” Ramarikhoane said.
He said police were keen to interview the woman’s estranged husband, a self-employed man who has since disappeared following the fire incident.
The husband, who is also the father of the nine-year-old boy, left his family sometime last year following a series of conflicts over infidelity.
“Police in Butha Buthe are aware of the marital problems the two had been experiencing before the husband moved out. We were also making efforts, which include marriage counselling, as a way to try and resolve the marital conflicts,” Ramarikhoane said.
However, he added after the fire outbreak, police have not been able to locate the husband at his residence.
“We are not calling him a suspect yet but would like to follow up on all the people who are in any way linked to the victims. This is just a routine exercise.”