WALVIS BAY – The police at Walvis Bay have issued a warning about a suspected serial rapist on the loose in the wake of sexual attacks targeting women.
This follows after a third woman was allegedly raped at gunpoint on Tuesday evening in Kuisebmond by an armed masked man who broke into her shack. Two attempted sexual assaults have been reported in a matter of weeks in Kuisebmond – all targeting women living alone in shacks – according to the police.
A source close to the investigation yesterday told New Era the suspect on Tuesday night allegedly raped the woman and in a bizarre moment questioned her about her HIV status and whether she has a boyfriend. According to police insider, the suspect got so comfortable that he at one stage removed his disguise and suggested he sleeps over.
“The victim then pretended that she wanted to close the door so they could go to bed, but started screaming as she got to the door. As a result, the suspect ran away,” the police source close to the investigation told New Era.
The latest rape occurred just five days after the last rape was reported in Kuisebmond and another woman was attacked in Otweya by unknown suspects.
Police community affairs commander for Erongo Chief Inspector Ileni Shapumba yesterday confirmed the rape to New Era but said he is not at liberty to discuss the circumstances of the incident. “What I do know is that rape is a concern and that we are dealing with a serious issue,” Shapumba said yesterday.
He said, at this stage, they are not sure whether they are dealing with more than one serial rapist and whether the attacks are linked to those who occurred in September in Windhoek. “At this stage, we are not sure if they are more than one person committing these distasteful acts against helpless women. However, we noticed similarities in the way the rapes are carried out,” he said.
He then explained that the police noticed the suspects choose their prey strategically and most likely also observe their movements before they strike. “They know these women live alone and where they live. That is why we are warning women to be extra careful of strange or unfamiliar people in their surroundings,” he said. According to Shapumba, one of the victims allegedly chose not to open a case. This, he said, can be due to fear and stigma.
On the attempted rape, he said, the first woman screamed and wrestled with the suspect; as a result, the pistol’s cartridge of the alleged rapist fell out and he ran away.
“In the second attempted rape, the victim also screamed and her neighbour came to her rescue and chased the armed suspect. The suspect then opened fire on the neighbour,” Shapumba said, elaborating that police are suspecting the acts are being carried out by more than one person.
He then urged women at the town, especially those living in shacks in Kuisebmond, to be on high alert, as they suspect armed serial rapists are on the loose at the town.
Shapumba also encouraged women who are living alone to rather stay in groups of at least three for their own safety, as the rapists prey on women living alone.
He said police will now be patrolling the streets and profile any suspicious persons they find on the streets for the safety of women.