JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A 30-year-old mother in North Sumatra has killed her three young children apparently because she could not bear the economic burden of caring for them.
The woman and her husband live with their parents, their three toddler sons and another older child in Banua Sibohou, Namohalu Esiwa district, North Nias regency, Indonesia.
Nias Police spokesman, First Adjutant-Inspector Yansen Hulu, said the incident occurred on Wednesday (Dec 9) when the victims' older sibling, father and grandparents went to vote in the North Nias election for regent and deputy regent.
The woman and the three children stayed home.
After returning from the polling station at about 1.30pm, the victims' grandparents and sibling, who came home before their father, found the three children dead with their throats slit, said Mr Yansen.
The victims were five, four and two years old.
"The mother killed the three victims at once, after which the perpetrator lay down beside the victims holding a machete," Mr Yansen told reporters on Thursday.
After discovering the dead children, he said, the victims' older sibling called his father, who rushed home.
The police have arrested the mother and have seized the machete allegedly used to commit the murder. The bodies of the three victims were taken to the Gunungsitoli Regional Hospital for autopsy.
"The initial investigation suggests that the perpetrator killed her children because of economic pressures," Mr Yansen said.
Ms Irna Minauli, a psychologist from Medan Area University, said the police should immediately carry out a psychological examination of the alleged perpetrator. She suspected that the woman was experiencing post-partum depression.
"Often, people with post-partum depression will develop schizophrenia and they will experience hallucinations and delusions. They will start hearing whispers telling them to end the lives of themselves or (others)," she said.
A July survey by the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) found an increase in violence against children at home as a result of the heavy burden of childcare and housework falling on women during the Covid-19 health crisis.
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