WINDHOEK- “I am cold and want to sleep,” were the words of the five-year-old girl who was kidnapped and raped to the lady who found her with an old man last Thursday evening.
The girl was discovered at a bar, by Hilma Ujaha, 29, along Shanghai Street in Wambo location when the woman realised it was the same girl reported as missing on social media.
The girl was abducted from Blink Ogies Pre-Primary School in Khomasdal on Thursday around 13h00 by 50-year-old Jeremia van Wyk. Her name cannot be mentioned as she is a minor.
The girl’s mother told New Era that van Wyk is related to her brother in-law and he is known to the little girl and her family.
Following the tragic event, Sheriff Marshall Sean Naude organised a gathering with the community, religious leaders and the girl’s parents outside the minor’s school in Begonia Street for prayer.
A number of people came out to show support to the family including Pastor Jennifer Moetie and Pastor Zelda van der Colff who prayed for the family and the little girl.
During the event on Sunday Naude introduced Ujaha, the woman who found the girl. “God used her (Ujaha) as an instrument and she saved the life of this young child. She took action when others just looked on,” Naude said.
On Monday New Era caught up with Ujaha at her home along Shanghai Street to hear how she found the girl.
Ujaha said she approached the girl who was in a corner sitting on a brick next to man in a bar around 21h00.
Ujaha had spotted this girl earlier as she passed by them when she left for the shop at approximately sunset.
Ujaha had not left home in four months after her business closed down. She had been indoors and hardly left the house. She normally sends her younger brother to run errands for her.
However, on this day, Ujaha decided she would walk to the service station at around 18h00 to buy a few items that she needed.
As Ujaha passed the bar at their house, she saw the girl next to Van Wyk. The suspect was consuming alcohol and he looked drugged. According to Ujaha and information she later gathered, Van Wyk was not a regular at the bar and it appeared it was his first time there.
When Ujaha returned from the shop she took her cellphone which she had left behind and saw a photo of a girl missing circulating on WhatsApp. Ujaha thought to herself the girl in the photo looked familiar.
Ujaha then left the house again after receiving a call from a friend who was outside. This time she approached the girl.
“I greeted her and asked her what is your name and she mentioned it and it matched the one on the post circulating.
“I panicked and started screaming ‘people are looking for this child what are you doing with the child here?’ I went into the house and called the number on the post and the police,” shared Ujaha with New Era.
When Ujaha returned outside she spotted Van Wyk dragging the child a distance trying to escape. Ujaha called her younger brother to follow him and she started screaming and people in the street caught up with the suspect.
“When I caught up with them, I asked the girl, if she knew the man and she replied it is Oom Boesman. I asked her where they were going and she replied that they are on their way to Rehoboth (where the girl and her family reside),” stated Ujaha.
Ujaha added that the little girl was shivering and the man was trying to pull her behind him, perhaps attempting to stop her from talking.
Ujaha said the suspect was calm and dared her to call her family while he said the girl is his sister’s child.
All this time the girl’s family were searching for her in the riverbeds of Khomasdal and when Ujaha called them they rushed to Katutura where their child was located.
“I am not a hero. It is all God’s work. Had I not submitted to the Holy Spirit I would have never found that child,” stated Ujaha while hoping that had she known earlier about her she would have removed the child and given her food to eat.
Ujaha added it was only until the following day after a medical examination was done that the girl’s uncle informed her that the girl was sexually violated.
During Sunday prayer session, in attendance was Desiree Davids from Cha-Cha Trading who donated a watch with a GPS tracker to the girl. Davids said the child can call the parents by pressing a button after the number has been programmed into the phone. Davids said the watch has a safety zone and once the child leaves the zone it reports on the parents’ cellphone.
Van Wyk appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was denied bail.