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Eba Kandovazu & Marthina Mutanga
Colleagues and friends of Sarah Mwilima reacted with cries of despair and grief while they had to look on as her mortal remains, wrapped in a white plastic body bag, was carried to the mortuary vehicle of the Namibian Police parked at the entrance of the City Centre Building.
Although police officers cordoned off the immediate area in front of the building, scores of the deceased person’s colleagues and bystanders gathered to take in the morbid scene playing out in front of them.
What would have been an ordinary Monday morning for employees of the Ministry of Health and Social Services in their office located at the heart of Windhoek, turned out to be a nightmare when one of their co-workers, a 33-year-old man, barged into an office in the building and shot two of his female colleagues.
The incident which happened at around midday on Monday led to utter chaos erupting in the central business district as the man armed with a with a Macaroc pistol entered the fourth floor of the City Centre building above Cafe Schneider where he shot the two women at point blank range.
Heavily armed members of the Special Reserve Force of the Namibian Police were deployed to the building to defuse the active shooter situation or to eliminate him.
Khomas Regional Police Commander Silvanus Nghishidimbwa identified the deceased victim as the 51-year-old Sarah Mwilima. He said she was pronounced dead on the scene. She was the Director of the Program Management Unit in charge of the management of funds for Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Her next of kin have been informed.
He said the second victim, Ester Nepolo, was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of the Roman Catholic Hospital and that she is in a critical condition. According to Nghishidimbwa, the suspect handed himself over to the Wanaheda Police Station soon after the incident that sent shock waves through Namibia.
Addressing staff members employed at the City Centre Building, the Ministry of Health and Social Services Permanent Secretary, Benetus Nangombe, said that employees who were present at the scene will be treated for shock and that they will receive counseling if they so desire. He also gave a directive to release ministerial employees for the rest of the day.
“Sarah was an excellent worker. We will cherish her memories. She was very diligent and dedicated to her work. This is indeed a sad day for us,” Nangombe said.
Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, commander of the Police Public Relations Division, said that the suspect’s name cannot be revealed until he appears in court. He said the suspect will be charged with murder and attempted murder or a second count of murder, should the second victim succumb to the injuries she sustained.
Commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa said earlier that the motive for the killing was not yet clear. He gave the assurance that the matter will be investigated with all diligence.