Nine members of two families murdered in Miklajung, PanchtharMurder suspect found hanging from a tree in a village 90 minutes’ walk from incident site
On Tuesday morning, the town of Miklajung in Panchthar woke up to horrific news. Two families had been brutally murdered in the dead of the night.
“I immediately informed the police and rushed to the incident site,” Amar Raj Makhim, chairman of the Miklajung Rural Municipality in eastern Nepal, told the Post. “When we reached there, we first saw the body of Bam Bahadur Fiyak outside the house. His face was slashed beyond recognition. Bam Bahadur seems to have been attacked when he was sleeping outside on the verandah.”
Four more bodies were recovered from his house—three inside and one out.
“It was a horrific scene,” said Amar. “Five family members of Dhanraj Sherma and four members of his father-in-law Bam Bahadur’s family were murdered.”
The deceased have been identified as Bam Bahadur, 74; Farsi Maya Fiyak, 71; Man Kumari Fiyak, 31; Shreya Fiyak, 13; Dhanraj Sherma, 41; Jasmita Sherma, 36; Yuwana Sherma, 13; Muna Sherma, 6; and Ichchha Sherma, 8. The bodies have been sent to Jhapa for post-mortem, according to police.
Earlier on Tuesday, police had said that 12-year-old Sita Khajum, a witness to the brutal attack, had managed to escape.
As per the minor’s statement to the police, a masked man had entered the house and started attacking everyone present with a sharp weapon. He then fled the scene.
“He (the masked man) hacked and killed everyone one by one,” police quoted Khajum as having said.
Khajum was transferred to the Damak-based Lifeline Hospital in the afternoon for treatment. She had sustained injuries to her right arm and is being treated under tight security, according to Deputy Inspector General Kedar Rijal, chief of provincial police office in Biratnagar.
According to the Biratnagar-based Province Police Office, police personnel from Panchthar District Police Office and nearby police stations were sent to the village after the incident came to light.
When police launched their investigation, locals reported an estranged relationship between Man Kumari Fiyak, one of the victims, and her husband Man Bahadur Makhim, who was conspicuously missing since the attack. Man Kumari had been living in her maternal house for the past few months citing marital issues with her husband. According to locals, the couple were headed towards a divorce.
Man Bahadur was eventually found hanging from a tree in Limba village, which is about an hour and a half walk from where the murders took place.
“A khukuri, a piece of cloth and a bag soaked with blood were found near the body. The items have been sent for tests and we can confirm the murder weapon only after we get test results,” Shiddha Raj Neupane, deputy superintendent of police, spokesperson of Province 1 police, told the Post.
According to the police, three different teams led by DIG Rijal; Senior Superintendent of Police Sharad Kumar Khatri of federal-provincial police office, Dharan; and Superintendent of Police Uma Chaturvedi of the Central Investigation Bureau reached the crime scene later in the evening.
“A forensic team and a sniffer dog have also been sent to the crime scene,” said Neupane.
The incident site is about 60 km from Phidim, the district headquarters of Panchthar.
Nayak Paudel contributed reporting from Kathmandu