WALVIS BAY – An attempted murder on a woman a week ago, has many residents of Otweya at Walvis Bay fearing for their safety. The residents, who live in makeshift tents, are concerned they could be targeted next by criminals following the attack on a hapless young mother who is still hospitalised.
The woman was attacked by two unknown men early Sunday morning at the campsite that houses 100 families that were left homeless by the devastating fire in July this year. The balaclava-wearing men allegedly knifed the woman, then tied her, tried to strangle her and put sand in her mouth, leaving her unconscious.
The suspects also placed her helpless baby in a bag, in an effort to suffocate the child. Luckily, the hoodlums did not zip the bag close and as a result, the baby’s crying could be heard by neighbours, which set off the alarm bells. The residents who haven’t had a good night’s rest since the attack, have been making fires in the campsite to stay awake and guard over their children and other vulnerable inhabitants.
“We are scared for our lives. Some of us are single women who live alone with our children and some children sleep alone when the parents work night shifts,” one of the mothers, who do not want to be named, said on Friday during a march to the Walvis Bay municipality. She added they have been guarding the tents with their male counterparts to make sure no one is attacked at the temporary site again.
Ndileni Hamukoto, a grade 11 learner, also told New Era she is scared since the incident and opted to stay with a friend as her mother works night shifts at a local fishing factory. “It just does not feel safe anymore. I cannot concentrate when I am studying,” she explained. The group has appealed to the local municipality to be allowed to erect temporary shacks on the current site, which they say are much safer to sleep in than tents. Speaking on behalf of the group, Andemale Shikongo, explained they are simply looking for a workable solution while they are waiting for their relocation to a permanent site.
“The incident has shaken all of us. We do not sleep peacefully anymore. School going children are also in fear and the situation is affecting them mentally, as they are sometimes alone at night while the parents work,” he said.
They then suggested that the municipality also camp off the site with barbed wire and place a security guard at the entrance to stop criminals from entering the campsite.
“Our safety is of paramount importance and the mayor or council should not feel intimidated or attacked because he represents everyone at the town regardless of their political affiliation, whatsoever. We as residents of Otweya just want to feel safe and protected while we wait for our permanent relocation,” he said.
Walvis Bay councillor Paulus Kauhondamwa received the petition on behalf of council and told residents that their fears are genuine, and that council will look into it.