Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-Swakopmund residents across the racial, social and economic spectrum yesterday protested over the cold-blooded murder of 79-year-old Roswitha Strzelcki and her husband, 82-year-old Siegfried, who were both brutally murdered on August 2.
Residents also protested over the murder of 78-year-old Manfred Hartmann, who was murdered at his residence on August 17.
About 300 residents dressed mainly in white gathered early Monday morning in front of the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court, while several business outlets also joined the silent protest by closing their business for at least an hour.
Schools also joined in by holding hands during their 20-minute break to form a human chain around their schools to show their discontent over the murders, that sent shockwaves through the coastal community, which denounced the spate of attacks on the most vulnerable members of society.
Three suspects, Daniel Stefanus Nghilifa, Jerobeam Simon Shidute, and Fabianus Lazarus, reportedly killed Roswitha during the robbery when they slammed her several times against a wall and strangled her. Her husband sustained serious injuries during that attack and died three weeks after. The suspects robbed them of a phone valued at N$8,000 and N$1,000 cash.
Speaking to the media shortly before the appearance of the three suspects in court, organiser of the protest Clinton Lang said Swakopmund was not safe anymore and thus there was a need for residents of the town to stand together and denounce such crimes.
“The last three crimes were just violent and shocked all of us to the core. Therefore, I have taken up the initiative to unite the residents and Swakopmund to show that we will not tolerate such crimes, but will stand together and fight crime,” he said. He urged residents to report any criminal activity, regardless of how small it may seem.
“Crime is not committed in isolation. Somewhere someone will see something. But all these crimes will not be solved if we do not assist the police with information. Let’s play our part and report any suspicious activity in our communities,” he said.
He added that they would protest regularly to ensure the accused men do not get bail.
“We cannot allow crime to dictate to us or live in fear because of it. Therefore, I am appealing to residents of Swakopmund to report any criminal activity. Let us not turn a blind eye against crime but rather avoid it by assisting the police,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nampa reports that 25-year-old Uaaro Unaro Mbemukenga on Monday confessed to killing Swakopmund resident 78-year-old Manfred Karl Hartmann. He told the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court that he assaulted Hartmann at his house on August 18 with the intention of killing him and stealing his property.
Mbemukenga was employed by Hartmann as a gardener for over one month. His confession detailed how he dragged the pensioner into a toilet, tied his arms behind his back and tied him to a toilet pot.
“I tied him up and beat him with bricks on the forehead,” Mbemukenga admitted.
Hartmann’s body was found in a pool of blood the same day he was killed. The killer also attempted to cut open the safe but failed, after which he stole a laptop and a mobile phone, which were recovered by the police.
Mbemukenga’s case was postponed to November 13.