A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy from the Ongali Village in the North could very well be the youngest person in Namibia ever to face a charge of premeditated murder after he stabbed his 11-year-old cousin to death with a traditional knife known as an omukonda.
Gender-based violence and violence against children is an everyday occurrence in Namibia. Even more so during the restrictive measures still in force during the State of Emergency that was promulgated at the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the measures forced the extended closure of schools and children had to stay at home for the best part of the past five months. Many of these children were sent to the homes of the grandparents in the rural areas while their parents returned to work in the economic centres of the country as Namibia progressed to more relaxed stages of the State of Emergency.
Omusati Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Titus Shikongo, said the 11-year-old Beverly Kazembua Muhenje died on Monday after her little nine-year-old cousin stabbed her in chest with their grandfather’s traditional knife.
He said the tragic incident occurred at the Ongali Village in the Ogongo constituency.
According to Commissioner Shikongo, the deceased girl used the traditional knife to cut the leaves of a palm tree (eembale) to fix her bed. He said at some stage the little boy started to wrestle with his cousin in an attempt to take the knife from her.
“It is alleged that in the process, the young murder suspect wrestled the knife out of the hands of the deceased and stabbed her once in the left side of her chest. The wound was fatal and she died a few minutes later,” he said.
The young murder suspect fled the murders scene and was found hiding in the mahangu field close to the homestead of their grandparents,” he said.
Commissioner Shikongo said the girl and the boy are the children of two sisters who left them in the care of their grandparents.
He said the little boy was placed in the care of a social worker for mental assessment and to receive counselling.
“The young boy can, for obvious reasons, not be locked up with hardened criminals at the police holding cells and will be placed back in the care of his family once the social worker has made an assessment of the conditions at home. If the conditions at his home is found unsuitable, the young murder suspect will be sent to a place of safety where he will become the charge of the state,” he said.
Commissioner Shikongo said a case of murder was registered and once the investigation is complete the docket will be sent to the Prosecutor-General, who would have to decide if the young murder suspect will be tried for his crime.