Irate villagers have lynched five family members in Rongo, Migori County, for allegedly engaging in witchcraft.

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The incident happened when the villagers burnt five homes in a homestead in Nyangao village with the family members inside on Thursday night.

The villagers accused the homestead owner Mr Elijah Dwallo and his family of using witchcraft to kill a fellow villager, Mr Joel Awuonda.

The incident happened when the deceased fell ill on Thursday evening and was taken to a traditional doctor who named the Dwallos as the cause of the ailment.

He was then taken to Dwallo's homestead but the family refused to cleanse him, leading to the crowd burning all the five houses in the homestead.

They did so under the belief that Dwallo's mother Maritha Amollo, 80, is the witch behind the death.

"When (Mr) Awuonda’s condition worsened, villagers took him to (Mr) Dwallo’s home to be healed, but the family refused. He later died,” Mary Atieno, a witness, told the Nation.

However, Mr Dwallo escaped being lynched by escaping into a sugarcane plantation, while all the five houses in the homestead were set ablaze.

Confirming the incident, Rongo Sub County Police Commander Kibet Kirui said that four other victims escaped with serious burns.

"The incident left five members of one family dead while four others escaped with serious injuries. The injured have been taken to Migori County Referral Hospital for treatment,” he said.

The dead were identified as Dwallo's mother, his wife Helida Akinyi and their 3 children. The police are also searching for an 8-year-old girl who went missing during the incident.

The hostility between the two families has been reportedly running since 2018.

The dead bodies were moved to the Rosewood Mortuary in Rongo Town.