Man slashes family, animals to death

Epatululo village in the Okatope constituency will never be the same again.

The usually quiet and tightly-knit community of this village in the Ohangwena region, reeling from the shock of a gruesome massacre, is battling to put together the shattered pieces of their lives – in the hope of finding answers to their horrific puzzle.

Three members of one household were murdered during the wee hours of yesterday morning, a crime that has sent shockwaves among members of the once serene community.

Vilgenia Teofelus (61), her son Simon Petrus (30) and granddaughter Ndapandula Ndahalaovanhu Hafeni, aged one, were brutally murdered in their homestead – a place meant to be their place of safety.

And the suspect is one of their own – Teofelus’ son. Ohangwena police spokesperson, warrant officer Abner Kaume Itumba, said the suspect, who is aged 26 but who cannot be identified as he is yet to appear in court, chopped his mother, brother and two nieces multiple times on their heads with a sharp object, believed to be a panga.

All three victims died on the spot. The fourth victim, a two-year-old baby girl, survived the brutal attack, but sustained severe injures and was rushed to hospital for treatment. Her condition could not be ascertained.

Two other children, aged nine and seven, managed to escape from the attacker and sought refuge at the neighbours, about 500 metres from their homestead.

“The suspect also chopped off his niece’s left leg, and two fingers on the left hand. She is currently at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital. He further went to the kraal, and chopped off the heads of seven goats and a puppy. All the animals died instantly,” Itumba explained.

He said the motive behind the horrific murders has not been established, but Olivia Petrus, a sister of the suspect, said the suspect had claimed since Sunday that he had been seeing a lot of people surrounding their house.

Petrus said the suspect was seen wielding the panga all the time since then, apparently fighting with those “invisible people”.

Itumba added that the suspect fled from the scene after the multiple murders, but was arrested at the neighbouring Okakwa village.

According to the police, the suspected murder weapon (the panga) was recovered from the bushes at Okelemba village, where the suspect had apparently hidden it.

Charges of triple counts of murder, attempted murder and cruelty to animals have been levelled against the suspect.

He is expected to appear in the Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court today. The suspect reportedly returned to the village from Windhoek about a week ago.

When The Namibian arrived at the house hours later, it was very quiet. It was hard to believe that just five hours earlier, a tragedy had taken place there.

As the news spread, the homestead started filling up with shocked mourners, who appeared too numb to say anything. All they did was to stare at each other, and console one another with hymns and prayers.

One of the survivors, a nine-year-old girl who witnessed the incident, arrived at the house with the police and in the company of a social worker to collect national documents.

She walked as though unsure whether to enter the house.

She explained that her uncle had dinner with them at home the fateful night, but later left for the cuca shops.

He allegedly returned later, screaming that they should open for him. When this was not done as fast as he wanted, he broke down the door to the room in which they were sleeping.

The girl further said that when Teofelus realised that the suspect was attacking them, she tried to fight back with a knobkerrie, but he overpowered her.

“I watched as he slashed grandmother’s legs, and they started to bleed. Uncle was lying dead. That is when I told my sister that we should run. He had tied the main gate with a piece of wire, and I removed it so that we could escape”.

Rosalia Johannes Ndakalako (56) is the neighbour at whose house the two girls went to seek refuge. She was still reeling in shock from the incident. She told The Namibian that she heard the neighbour’s children screaming and running towards her house.

“They were screaming my name. I went to open, and when I took them to my room, they were so afraid that they refused to go in. I moved them to another room, and there they became calmer. My mother asked what had happened, and they told us about the attacks,” she narrated.

Ndakalako said she called the children’s mother, and asked her to call the police. By then, they could hear the suspect slashing the goats, while the dog barked. The barking stopped suddenly, and there were no more sounds.

The time was now 06h30, and the police arrived.

Ndakalako said what hurts her the most is that she cannot believe that people she lived with every day of her life were killed in such a horrific way. And that she will never see them again.

The people’s faces paint the entire picture of pain and disbelief, and they do not want the suspect back in their community.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News