EPATULULO - The mass killing of three family members in Ohangwena region yesterday has sparked anger and frustration on social media as Namibians highlighted the severity of crime in the country.
The close-knit community of Epatululo in Ohangwena is still reeling from shock after a man went on a killing spree and allegedly hacked his biological mother, brother and niece to death in the early morning of yesterday.
The family was allegedly attacked while asleep.
The deceased persons have been identified as 61-year-old Vilgenia Teofelus, Simon Petrus (30) and one-year-old Ndapandula Ndahalaovanhu Hafeni.
A fourth victim, whose leg and two left fingers were also allegedly chopped off, was yesterday rushed to the Oshakati state hospital. She was identified as two-year-old Rejoice Gift Petrus. According to the police report, the three victims were hacked multiple times on their heads.
Police regional commander of Ohangwena, Commissioner Simeon Shindinge said the suspect was arrested. He also killed seven goats and injured a family dog.
The suspect, whose name cannot be mentioned pending his appearance in court, faces four counts of murder read with the provisions of domestic violence and cruelty to animals.
“When we came here, we found three corpses. One is the suspect’s mother, the second corpse is his elder brother, the third corpse is a niece; his elder sister’s child,” related the commissioner. The suspected panga used to commit the barbaric act was found hidden at a nearby village. The two children aged seven and nine who were at home at the time of the brutal attack fled from the house and sought refuge at the neighbour’s house. They are currently receiving counselling. Although the motive of the quadruple murder is not known, Commissioner Shindinge suspects that the perpetrator might have been intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, considering signs displayed during his arrest. Villagers, according to the commissioner confirmed the claims that he abuses alcohol. The suspect allegedly only came home last week after being in Oshakati for some time. One of his surviving sisters told the police that the suspect was hallucinating and was complaining of seeing imaginary people surrounding their house. It is further alleged that he has been walking along with a panga and was observed to be fighting with his imaginary people. The neighbour, where the two girls sought refuge, said the children jumped over the fence to flee from the attack. Rosalia Ndakalako said she and her mother as well as the two girls locked themselves in the room upon hearing that the suspect was attacking his family. “They did not tell us they were dead, they said he was attacking their grandmother and we made calls to have the police informed,” said Ndakalako.
After the suspect allegedly killed the goats, he followed the two girls to the neighbours. “Maybe if we had not locked ourselves in the house, we would also have been dead,” said a shocked Ndakalako. An equally shocked Ohangwena constituency councillor Johannes Hakanyome, described the incident as very unfortunate and unheard of in the area before.
“This is a very unfortunate situation, if information about the suspect had come out earlier than this could have been avoided,” he added.
A similar family tragedy occurred at Ndama location in Rundu in July last year when 20-year-old Jesaya Gabriel Chuhunda allegedly bludgeoned to death five family members. This year, he was declared unfit to stand trial based on the medical report received by the court. He allegedly killed his mother, grandmother, two nephews and another relative’s child in July last year.