Ondonga warns‘witch’ beaters

Frans Enkali

Ondonga Traditional Authority secretary Frans Enkali is warning the public against taking the law into their own hands following an incident in which Paulina Kwedhi (67) was assaulted by a group of villagers who accused her of administering poison to her customers.

Kwedhi was assaulted by a group of villagers at Iikango C village in the Oniipa constituency in the Oshikoto region on Friday.

She can be seen in a video being brutally assaulted with sticks and tree whips.

Enkali says if the public takes the law into its own hands, it creates anarchy and lawlessness in society.

“If we allow that lawlessness to lead, then I am worried. I don’t know how the future generations are going to be,” he says.

Eight people have been arrested in connection with the assault.

They are Justus Ngula (45), Josef Nandeki (34), Kapani Shikongo (48), Kapuwapa Ndeulyatele (18), Julia Erastus (42), Sara Josef (49), Helena Kauluma (42) and Veronika Hamukoto (47).

The eight have appeared in the Ondangwa Magistrate’s Court and have been denied bail.

They face charges of assault with intent to do grievous harm, arson and theft.

Oshikoto police head of criminal investigations deputy commissioner Titus Ekandjo yesterday said the group did not only assault Kwedhi, they also burnt down her shebeen.

The Namibian was informed by a villager that Kwedhi was still hospitalised, as her attackers allegedly broke her arm and injured her mouth.


Earlier this year, residents of Elondo village in the Tsandi constituency were filmed beating a man, tying his legs and arms, and then tying him to a vehicle and pulling him.

The man was found hiding in a granary, which a group of residents destroyed to continue beating him.

Omusati regional commander Ismael Basson says the man was suspected of stock theft.

“He was found hiding in a mahangu container after he failed to turn up at the traditional court as it was agreed,” Basson said at the time.

This incident is not an isolated one.

In July 2019, 31 people were arrested in the Omusati region in connection with the brutal attack on three people who were accused of poisoning a man at Omushapi village in the Omusati region’s Tsandi constituency.

The police at the time explained that the mob became enraged by the death of their fellow villagers who allegedly fell sick while socialising with friends at a local shebeen.

The man later died at Tsandi District Hospital.

The community, along the man’s family, believed his death was a result of poisoning and not natural causes.

The police said the autopsy report ruled out poisoning as the cause of death and the family members of the deceased were informed as such.

Despite these efforts, the mob ignored the outcome of the autopsy and took the law into their own hands.

In 2006, the police at Outapi in the Omusati region arrested four people in connection with a mob attack on a woman from Okagongo village whom they accused of witchcraft.

The mob reportedly accused the woman of witchcraft after the death of another woman at the village.

The victim was beaten with bricks, stones, chairs and empty bottles all over her body.

Her village was also removed from the area, because they “disturb the peace of the residents with their witchcraft”.

Again in 2006, the police at Okahao arrested five people, including a police officer, following media reports of a mob attack on two women at the town.

The mob had allegedly accused two women of witchcraft and of poisoning a number of townspeople.

The two were severely beaten with fists, sticks and tree branches.

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