Cattle herders in Oshana Region found the body of a school child trapped between trees in a forest half a kilometre from her home at Oshiyashomatope village near Omuthiya on Monday.
All indications were that the child was on her way to church when she was raped, strangled and beaten to death, sources at Omuthiya said yesterday. The cattle herders were in search of their livestock on Monday morning when they made the grim discovery. The deceased girl was identified as Mennete Shikongo, a Grade 6 learner at Okakondo Primary School.
The child’s grandfather, Moses Shikongo, said the girl left home for church on Sunday, but the family soon realised that she did not make it to church. She apparently followed her grandmother to a church at Nuugonya, a branch of the Omuthiya ELCIN church.
Her grandmother was said to be a choir conductor at the church. The girl had earlier taken the livestock to a water point when she returned to follow her grandmother.
“When I got home I was told that she had gone to church. However, when the grandmother returned from church she informed us that the child was not at church,” said Shikongo. He said he had spent the whole night looking for his grandchild until Monday morning when the body was discovered.
“I spent the night looking for her and making calls until this morning, but I’m still concerned about how she got to this place, because it is in a totally different direction from that of the church,” said the grieving grandfather. Shikongo also expressed concern over the slow response of the police. He said the family informed the police about the incident before eight on Monday. However, the police only arrived at the scene by 11h00, according to him.
“We were told there was no transport and the police were finding alternatives to borrow a vehicle to attend to us,” said Shikongo.
Police Regional Commander in the Oshikoto Region Commissioner Anne-Marie Nainda denied that they were late and said the police responded within an hour. She said there was conflicting information from two callers who contacted the police, which could have caused the delay.
The commissioner said the police generally only attend to natural deaths, unless they volunteer to assist the community. She said the ministry of health attends to the sick. The latest information obtained by this newspaper strongly suggests that this is indeed a case of murder and not a case of death by natural causes.