Taxi driver accused of raping student denied bail

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ondangwa-Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Secondary School in the Oshana Region suspended classes on Friday to pave way for a peaceful demonstration against the granting of bail to a taxi driver, who alleged raped a learner who attends the school.

The 18-year-old victim, a Grade 12 learner at Andimba Toivo ya Toivo SS, was reportedly raped while on her way to school. The incident is said to have happened at Okakwiyu near Heroes Private School.

The accused, Onesmus Shapopi Amunyela, was denied bail when he made his appearance in the Ondangwa Magistrate’s Court on Friday and his case was remanded to April 18. The State opposed the granting of bail to Amunyela, on the ground that he faces a serious charge and the victim is a school going youth. In addition, the State objected to bail on the ground that rape is highly prevalent in the Ondangwa district and the country at large.

It was further noted that there was a widespread public outcry against the suspect being granted bail. The victim has also issued a statement against the granting of bail of Amunyela, as she fears for her life.

According to eyewitnesses, the taxi driver took the victim from Select Service Station at Ongwediva to drop her off at school, but skirted the school and instead drove her to the place where he raped her. After committing the heinous act, he drove the girl back to school.

“It was just fortunate that the girl could recognise him and the taxi he was driving and that is how she identified him. However, when she identified him he fled and went on to bump other people’s cars, but he was eventually arrested,” said one eyewitness.

Meanwhile, the head girl at the school, Mweneni Eunice Angula, said the school community feels threatened and learners do not feel safe taking taxis anymore.

“We appeal to the court to give him a stiff sentence,” Angula said of the suspected rapist.

Principal Waardeheim Shapaka echoed Angula’s sentiments and appealed to the court not to grant the accused taxi driver bail.

“He should be [used as] an example to those men who do not respect women, especially children.”

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