Accident victims’ DNA tests to take longer

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Photo: Helvy Shaanika Calling for patience… From left: Omuthiya Constituency Councillor Samwel Shivute, Deputy Commissioner Naomi Katjiua of the Oshikoto Regional Police and MVA Fund senior manager of accident and injury prevention Sidney Boois during the meeting at MVA Fund’s Ongwediva offices.

Ongwediva

DNA analyses of the bodies of 13 people burned beyond recognition in the road accident near Casablanca settlement on the Omuthiya-Oshivelo road two weeks ago will take a further two weeks to complete.

During a meeting organised by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, for the victims’ families, the police and MVA Fund officials, crime investigations coordinator of the police in the Oshikoto Region Deputy Commissioner Naomi Katjiua said the DNA testing process is expected to be completed by March 10 or 11.

At least 15 people died in the horrific road accident two weeks ago when a minibus and truck crashed head-on about 20 km from Oshivelo. The bus caught fire due to the impact, causing 13 people trapped in the minibus to burn beyond recognition.

Katjiua said of the 13 bodies only three were positively identified during the first of round of DNA testing.
So far only two victims have been buried, as they were not severely burned and could be identified. One young woman, who turned 20 on February 20, was the only survivor on the bus.

The bodies will, however, go through several more rounds of testing before the final results are produced. The thirteen victims include eight males, four females and one body that was so severely burned that it has yet to be confirmed whether it is male or female.

The bodies will be released to the families immediately upon completion and confirmation of the DNA results, the police said.
“If you’re lucky you can get your person by next week Friday, but the last body is likely to be released in two weeks’ time,” she said.

According to her, the DNA process is made more difficult by the fact that some victims do not having parents alive.
Most victims hail from the Omusati Region, while other affected regions include Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Oshana and Khomas.

Senior manager for accident and injury prevention at MVA Fund Sidney Boois told the meeting that a mass memorial service for the victims is envisaged to take place on the site of the accident on March 10 or 11.

NamPol has volunteered to facilitate the transportation of the victims’ remains from Windhoek to their respective families once the DNA analysis process is completed. Katjiua, however, advised family members not to contact memorial services until the DNA test are finalised, saying the bereaved families could deplete their resources in the process.

The deputy commissioner also urged the affected families to remain patient, maintaining that all the families would be treated equally. “You would find some people claiming that the reason why X’s remains were released is because the deceased is connected to police officers or a minister, but that is not true. If you have any questions, please call me. Don’t rely on rumours,” Katjiua advised.
– Additional reporting: Nampa

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