Killing fields bring nation to tears

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Windhoek

Magistrate Hambeleleni Heita sat pensively in the A court of Katutura Magistrate’s Court yesterday listening quietly as State Prosecutor Maria Nelago introduced the case against 33-year-old Ananias Kamati, who is suspected of the murder of two young women over the weekend.

The court was filled with friends, family and colleagues of the deceased, wearing black scarfs to mourn the brutal slaying of the two sisters, 18-year-old Jacqueline Kuaseua, a Grade 10 learner at Augustenium Secondary School – where Kamati was a teacher – and Jacqueline’s elder sister, 30-year-old Cecilia.

Kamati is alleged to have been in an intimate relationship with the teenager. He is now charged with murder, read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, and a second count of murder.

The trouble that has cast a shadow of grief over the Kuaseua family and the nation at large started on Friday when Kamati allegedly grabbed Jacqueline’s mobile phone and fled with it into a riverbed in Khomasdal. In a bid to recover the phone from Kamati – who reportedly suffered a fit of jealousy – the siblings pursued him into the bushes.

When they finally caught up with him the Otjiherero language teacher allegedly resorted to fatal violence, clubbing both sisters to death with a hard object, before the teacher returned to the school premises where he apparently attempted to take his own life.

One of the sisters was allegedly found with her eyes pierced with a sharp object. With a suicide note in his pocket, Kamati first allegedly attempted to hang himself, but failed, before resorting to drinking highly lethal battery acid water, which landed him in the intensive care unit.

Kamati was not at court yesterday, as he lay in the Katutura State Hospital, having tried to commit suicide following his alleged cowardly deed. His case was postponed to October 19.

Earlier yesterday the A court of the Katutura Magistrate’s Court heard the case of a 34-year-old Ndapewa Nakale, who is accused of stabbing to death her boyfriend Lameck Nghitombwa, in Okuryangava after an argument, also on Friday.

Nakale was denied bail and her case was postponed to December 11. She is also charged with murder, read with the provision of the Domestic Violence Act.

While the Katutura court was hearing of the merciless killing of intimate partners, the police in Opuwo were searching for clues at a house in Okatuwo informal settlement where the decomposing bodies of a man and woman were discovered.

The Opuwo police suspect the man killed his partner before committing suicide by hanging himself in the same room. It is suspected the young couple may also have had a rocky relationship. Their bodies were discovered on Sunday morning after neighbours detected a foul smell coming from the room.

The deceased couple has since been identified. The man was Nguapeua Matundu, 28, and the woman Vemusyepo Zatjinda, 27. The body of Matundu was found hanging from a rope, while that of Zatjinda was found on the floor in the same room.

“I came to this region in January and this is the first killing of this sort,” Kunene regional crime investigation co-ordinator Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Kanyetu said yesterday.

While the police in Opuwo were searching for clues and the courts in Katutura were dealing with grievous cases of cold-blooded murder, the police in Windhoek were alerted to another gruesome find in a riverbed between Single Quarters in Katutura and Khomasdal where the body of an unidentified man was found by passersby. See page 6.

Incidents of what are known as “crimes of passion” are so rife in Namibia that a national prayer day, led by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, was held a year ago. Even with many different religious denominations joining hands at the Sam Nujoma soccer stadium to pray for an end to the killings, the scourge did not stop.

Gender equality minister Doreen Sioka yesterday also visited the family of the slain Kuaseua sisters and used the occasion to denounce intimate relationships between teachers and learners. She urged teachers to turn learners into good citizens, and not their girlfriends and boyfriends.

Following the latest incident in which teacher Kamati stands accused of killing a student he was reportedly having an affair with, there has been widespread public outrage over intimate teacher-learner relationships – to the extent that the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) yesterday said it would not defend members fired for engaging in sexual relations with learners.

“That is a serious offence and we will not condone such behaviour. Any school management aware of such incidents must report it to the authorities so that those teachers can be disciplined without mercy. This is tarnishing the image of the profession,” Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura said.

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