THE massacre perpetrated by a panga wielding man at the Epatululo Village that sent shock waves through the Namibian nation put the unabated abuse of alcohol and drugs squarely in the spotlight.
The Ohangwena Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Shinedima Shindingi addressed stunned members of the Epatululo community and people from neighbouring villages on the abuse of drugs and alcohol abuse while they were gathered at the homestead where the horrific attack occurred.
He spoke to the community about the abuse of traditional Otombo infused with Epangwe or dagga to make the effect of the traditional drink much stronger. The commissioner urged parents to report any change in their children’s behaviour to the police in order to be assisted.
Commissioner Shindingi warned parents to refrain from accepting bread and other gifts from their children while they know that the children are not working but are only involved with dealing drugs.
“The abuse of drugs and alcohol is rated very high in the Ohangwena Region,” he said.
The commissioner also said that community members should not always complain about slow response from police officers because in this specific instance the response was very quick.
“This time officers on duty at the Ohangwena Police Station responded within minutes. The police was informed around 05:15 and they managed to be at the scene within 15 minute of notification.”
Commissioner Shindingi said the officer that responded to the incident were about to go off shift but they gave up their time to come to the rescue of the severely injured child that survived the brutal attack.
Besides sustaining deep cuts to her head, arms and legs the little girl lost a finger and also had serious panga wounds on her feet.
The officers rushed the little girl to the Engela State Hospital from where she was transferred to Oshakati State Hospital where emergency surgery was performed to save her life. She is still in the care of nurses who reported her condition as stable.
“Detective Sergeant Emvula of the Serious Crime Investigation Subdivision in the Ohangwena Region with support from Sergeant Nghuumono, Constable Ngweda and the youngest officer, Constable Teofelus Hangula arrived first on the scene and applied all possible techniques and efforts to rescue the little girl. The four officers shortly after followed the suspect’s foot prints until they caught him in the Okakwa village more than four kilometres away from the murder scene,” Commissioner Shindingi told the community gathered at the homestead.
The suspect was charged with three counts of murder and attempted murder. For killing seven goats and a dog with the panga the man was also charged with cruelty to animals. He is set to appear in the Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
In the meantime surviving members of the family requested their fellow Namibians to support them financially and emotionally during this difficult time. They said there is no one in the house who can provide for them and who can assist the surviving members of the family to maintain the whole mourning process.
In this regard Helena Stefanus, a niece of the victims can be contacted at 081 296 9934. Alternatively Mathew Johannes can be contacted at 081 448 9216 to offer assistance.