Grisly Find

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Another Mass Grave Discovered By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Another grisly discovery of human remains was made, this time again near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz. A small media contingent that flew to the suspected mass grave yesterday spotted a hyena dashing from the scene with a piece of a decomposed human hand, giving credence to suspicion the spot contains relatively ‘fresh’ human remains. The find was made this week some 20 kilometres north-east of LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz where barely a decade ago a colonial-era mass grave with dozens of skulls and other skeletal remains was found, resulting in an investigation whose findings are yet to be made public. According to journalists who were at the scene, a pack of spotted hyenas could be seen feasting on the human remains dumped in the desert. “Hyenas were still feasting on them, one even ran off with a rotten hand,” said Anna Nicodemus of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s TV Current Affairs Department. Observations showed that some of the skulls still had some flesh and hair, sparking the suspicion that the scattered human bones could not have been there for long. Although deserts conditions are known to mummify animal and human remains. This gruesome discovery came to light after an investigation led by Secretary to Cabinet Frans Kapofi, with high-ranking government officials and journalists yesterday hastily undertaking a trip to the site to view the remains scattered around the area. Other officials who accompanied Kapofi were the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Joseph Iita, and Namibian Police boss Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga. It was not quite clear how the government delegation was informed about the incident as everybody was tight-lipped as to where the information came from. Materials of clothing and blankets could also be seen on some of the numerous bones. The black hair found on one of the skulls is thought to indicate the victims were black like in the case of those murdered in some of the atrocities committed by the occupation forces that dumped victims into the desert and sea. Talking to the media at the scene, Kapofi said the site indicated the dumping of human remains and a lot of questions as to who these people were, how they got there in the first place and who did it, have to be solved. “This is something of interest. We need to find out whether human flesh can survive for 50 years and remain intact like this. The evidence is here and you can see the colour of the clothing, texture of material and human flesh. This could not have survived for 50 years. Can a hyena feed on human remains that existed for 50 years,” asked Kapofi. He further stressed that he was not convinced by the speculation that the dead could have died from an epidemic or flu. “People were dumped here and I believe if they are to dig further down, it will reveal more,” said Kapofi. “We want to hear the hard facts as to what happened to these people,” he said, adding that he’s calling for any tip-offs from the public on an anonymous basis to determine what really happened at the site. In view of the latest discovery, Government will do everything possible to ensure that the newly found skeletal remains are reburied in a dignified way. “We cannot have a site like this in Namibia. We cannot have a dumping place like this for human remains and Government will do everything in its power to ensure that these people are given the burial they deserve,” he said. The area where the human remains were found is said to be a diamond mining and exploration area. For now, Government will take up the issue and call on forensic experts to come to the site to determine the details of when the people died, the cause of death and other vital clues that can explain the nature of their deaths. Plans are now underway for Kapofi to compile a report on the latest findings near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz for presentation to Cabinet and the Head of State. The recent findings come after a previous find of some 57 skulls and other skeletal remains that were also discovered near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz, by the current Minister of Safety and Security, Peter Tsheehama, in 1999. It is believed that those human remains could be linked to a colonial area atrocity, although it was never established how old the bones at Charllotenthal near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz were. The place where the previous remains were scattered is approximately five kilometres inland from the Agate Beach security gate inside the restricted diamond area.