Residents of Asafufu, a village near Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, yesterday morning woke up to the horrible news that a taxi driver, Stephen Kwaku Badu, popularly known as ‘Opete’, had set his wife ablaze, burning her beyond recognition.
According to both police and fire service personnel who went to the scene, another charred body that was found inside the chamber and hall residence of the couple was believed to be that of the man.
The charred body of the victim, Madam Efua Ackon, who is believed to be in her 40s and a teacher at Dumesua in the Sunyani West District, was conveyed to the Regional Hospital morgue in Sunyani while efforts were being made to establish the identity of the other charred body.
One of the four children of the couple, Angela Aba Achia, aged four, who was miraculously rescued, according to personnel of the Sunyani Municipal Fire Station, also sustained severe burns and is on admission at the Regional Hospital.
According to fire service and police personnel on the scene, there were six people in the room comprising those who were burnt to death and four children of the couple, who are all alive.
The chamber and hall residence of the couple has also been totally razed down by the fire.
The police and neighbours have cited marital misunderstandings between the couple as possible reason for the action of the husband.
By 7.30 a.m. a thick crowd had gathered on the scene, but the charred body of the woman had been covered and was later exposed when the police arrived on the scene to convey the body to the mortuary.
However, the second body, which, according to the fire service personnel, was discovered after that of the woman had been conveyed to the hospital, was yet to be identified, but they believe it would be that of the husband.
The Sunyani Municipal Fire Officer, Mr Kwesi Baffour-Awuah, told the Daily Graphic team that his men arrived on the scene at 5.45 a.m. after receiving a distress call around 5.30 a.m. because they had difficulty locating the place.
He said the fire personnel managed to put the fire under control, broke into the room and found the body of the victim completely burnt beyond recognition.
Mr Baffour-Awuah disclosed further that the elderly child of the couple, Rockson Badu, aged 15, told the personnel that he saw his father holding a gallon which he hid in a nearby bush during the evening of the previous day.
He said for sometime now his father had been having misunderstandings with their mother and each time the father threatened to burn their mother.
Young Rockson said their mother was also a co-host of a radio programme on Ark FM, a local FM station in Sunyani to which their father had asked her to stop but she refused. He said the latest misunderstanding arose when their mother informed their father that she wanted to further her education in Kumasi and their father again refused.
He said while he and his other siblings were standing in the porch, he saw his father with the gallon containing petrol, which he sprinkled on their mother to set her ablaze. He said he tried to stop him but he pushed him out of the room.
Young Rockson said he asked his mother to leave the room but their father took a lit candle in the room and threw it on their mother setting her and the entire house ablaze. He said he heard their mother shouting “Jesus” and thereafter he did not hear anything again until the fire service were called in to come and put out the fire.
The Assembly Member for the area, Madam Evelyn Richardson, who was also on the scene, told the Daily Graphic that she came to meet the burnt house and the charred body of the victim inside the building.
Mr Andrew Kwarteng, the host of the radio programme of which the victim was part, also intimated that he and the victim were on air the previous evening after which the victim narrated her marital problem to him.
He said he even told the victim not to sleep in her marital home that night but she refused only to see her burnt body the following morning.
When contacted, the Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent Charles Botwe, confirmed the incident but said two bodies had been discovered but could not say whether the other was that of the man, though that of the woman had been conveyed to the Regional Hospital morgue by the police.