Firebomb ‘was suicide’
Murder-suicide probe: father was facing charge of assault
THE firebombing incident that claimed the lives of five Pietermaritzburg people last week is now believed to have been a murder-suicide.
Several separate police sources have said that early indications are that the death of the five was not an arson attack but a murder-suicide, allegedly carried out by Aziz Manjra (46) — father of three and husband to Gori Bee Manjra (46).
Manjra, his wife, their two youngest children, Mairoonisa (14) and Muhammad Rizwan (9), and the family’s tenant Zaiboon Valley (50) were found dead inside the family’s Larch Road home near Brookside Mall in the early hours of last Thursday.
The Msunduzi fire department had arrived at the double-storey house — purchased by the family just over a week before they died — at around 3.30 am to find the house well alight.
Initial reports from police said a charge of arson had been opened and five counts of murder, however, police now believe the tragic incident to have been a murder-suicide.
It is alleged that Aziz had assaulted a young woman, however, it is unclear when the assault took place.
Relatives of the family, who asked not to be named, said they knew nothing of this assault and had not been informed of police suspicions that the attack was a murder-suicide.
Police sources said that following the alleged assault on the young woman, which had not yet been reported to the police, an angry Gori gave Aziz “marching orders” to go back to India — the place he had moved from 25 years ago.
Several sources said Aziz had wanted to take the children with him but Gori would not allow it.
When Gori would not allow Aziz to take the children with him to India, it is alleged he then set the fire. The details on how this was done are still sketchy.
Sources with intimate knowledge of the investigation said when the five bodies were found, Aziz had severe burns to his body and face while the rest of his family and the tenant had suffered minor or no burns.
One source said Aziz had been found near the back door of the house with keys in his hand while the body of Muhammad Rizwan was found under a bed.
It is believed the cause of death of the other four victims was smoke inhalation.
The source also confirmed that traces of accelerants had been found in the house.
According to friends and neighbours of the family, Aziz moved from India to South Africa 25 years ago.