One of the surviving sisters, who burned severely as a result of a suspected arson attack in Greenwell Matongo last month, Hilda Shekupe Thomas, 27, is still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but is gradually showing signs of recovery, having lately opened her eyes and started moving.
The man she was in a relationship with, Augusto Matheus Sipema, stands accused of having deliberately set the two women’s shack on fire, while she and her younger sister, Aulelia, were fast asleep. Aulelia succumbed to her injuries two weeks ago. She was just 26 years old.
It is alleged the suspect, Sipema, poured paraffin into the shack from the doorway and then set it alight.
Reinhold Amunyela, brother to the two sisters, said Hilda has lately opened her eyes and started moving a bit. “She mumbles when you call her name, but she is not talking,” said Amunyela, adding that she is also still bandaged all over her body.
The family is hopeful that she will recover.Amunyela added that Hilda has been transferred to the ICU at Katutura State Hospital from Windhoek Central Hospital, where she was initially admitted.
He said although the suspect Sipema, 34, was arrested, the family is reeling in grief and despair, because the fire also claimed the life of innocent Aulelia.
Sipema was initially arrested by the police two days after the incident, but was soon released, as the police did not have sufficient evidence at the time to link him to the crime.
He was then re-arrested recently by the police in Otjiwarongo, while reportedly travelling to Tsumeb, where he had recently relocated to and where he owns a carwash and shebeen. During Sipema’s arrest, the suspect was in the company of his heavily pregnant other girlfriend, whom he was travelling with.
Sipema faces two charges: attempted murder and arson, both read with provisions of the Domestic Violence Act of 2003. He was denied bail during his first appearance at Katutura Magistrate’s Court and his case was postponed to November 28.
He told the court he would apply for legal aid.