While the community of Okakwa in Ohangwena region is coming to terms with the shocking discovery of the remains of a 16-year-old boy who was allegedly assaulted to death and buried by his aunt three-years ago, talks of another possible murder have surfaced.
The family cannot account for another 16-year-old who went missing between 2014 and 2015 while under the care of the same suspect. A 39-year-old woman is set to appear in the Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court today on charges of murder and possible defeating the course of justice, following the deadly assault and disappearance of her nephew Johannes Nghidimbwa in December 2018.
Nghidimbwa was allegedly assaulted to death in the presence of his younger siblings who were later asked to dig his grave.
But while in custody, another disappearance or possible murder came to light.
The family revealed that another teenager identified as Justina Shileka (16) went missing about seven years ago, from the same house.
Shileka whose father is the suspect’s uncle, was allegedly under the care of the suspect when she was last seen.
Initially, the suspect allegedly informed the family that Shileka had moved to her maternal family, however, the maternal family has also been looking for her.
“Justy (Shileka)’s maternal aunt has been calling and texting my sister (suspect) asking for their child, but my sister retaliated to the questioning with insults. I really cannot say much about Justy’s disappearance but sometimes my sister tells people that she went to her mother’s family, sometimes she says that she left for Angola. She also apparently told some people that the child was in Uukwambi. Even today, one of Justy’s aunt was here looking for her,” says Indileni Nghidimbwa, whose son’s remains were discovered in a grave dug inside the family homestead yard.
Nghidimbwa says there are talks in the community that the suspect has confessed to have buried someone next to a marula tree – again in their grandmother’s mahangu field where the suspect and Nghidimbwa’s children reside.
Recalling the events of that fateful night, the victim’s younger brother who was 13-years-old at the time, said he and his siblings went to collect their aunt (suspect) from the Okakwa cuca shops where she owns a shebeen.
“When we came home, she started complaining that Johannes had stolen her N$500. She instructed us to catch him and hold him as she tied him to the bed. She instructed us to sit and watch as she started hitting him with an electric cable and some metals all over the body. She also warned us not to sleep throughout the night,” the distraught brother told New Era.
‘Assaulted for hours’
“He tortured him from 12h00 at night until 06h00 in the morning… He was screaming, crying, but then he went mute,” said the visibly emotionally disturbed teenager.
The boy who is now 16, said when their aunt realised that Johannes was no longer moving, she took water and sprinkle it on him.
She then asked the children to go and dig a hole in the yard a stone’s throw from the homestead.
She apparently told the children that she needed to bury some garbage.
She then sent out all the children.
“When we returned, John was not there. The blanket where he was lying was also gone and the wheelbarrow was soaked in blood. She told us that he had gone to work at farms in the southern part of the country, and he is not returning… but we later found his clothes burned in the bush. We knew it was his clothes because we found his belt buckle. The dogs also used to dig the grave but it seems that they gave up. When the police came last week to dig up his remains, he was still intact. He did not change… it was him,” said the sobbing boy.
Nghidimbwa said she last saw her son after he wrote his grade 10 examinations at Oshikango Combined School in 2018.
“I sent him here - at my grandmother’s house – where my sister was heading the house because our grandmother is old. He was supposed to return to Oshikango as he failed grade 10 and needed to repeat. But in January 2019 my sister called me and told me that he is no longer returning to Oshikango, as she secured him space at Okelemba Combined School. A few days after she told me that she beat him up because he stole her money, she said he decided to leave the house to go and work at some farms,” she recalls.
Nghidimbwa said she believed her sister’s version until recently when her son (Johannes’ younger brother) ran away from home to seek refuge at her (Nghidimbwa) house in Oshikango.
The boy recounted to her mother that he escaped the hands of her aunt who was beating him up, accusing him of stealing her N$500.
The boy who was traumatised narrated how her aunt killed his elder brother (Johannes) in 2018 under similar circumstances.
When Nghidimbwa called to confront her sister, the sister allegedly once more retaliated with insults.
That is when she decided to go and report her missing son to the police.
Nghidimbwa claimed that one of the children in the house told her a few years back that Johannes was killed by their aunt.
“I did not believe her because she was just a child and she used to lie a lot. I never got time to question my (now) older son, but as I saw years passing by, I decided to raise some money to seek witchdoctors’ assistance. I wanted to hear what happened to my son. But while I was still raising the money, this surfaced. I don’t know if I should get angry or sad. I am stunned, I did not expect this from my elder sister,” she said.