Murder victim’s family reels in anger
Anger was evident on the faces of scores of relatives and friends of Elizabeth Tuwilika Ekandjo when her suspected killer, Gabriel Johannes Petrus, made a brief first appearance in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Hours after Petrus, 26, was hauled back into police cells, a large contingent of relatives and sympathisers had converged at the Hossiana Parish Church in Katutura, where the deceased’s emotionally-charged memorial was held.
Whispers at the memorial suggested the families of both the victim and the alleged killer were at loggerheads over which one should bear the costs of the burial, with the bereaved family demanding that Petrus’ relatives should carry the burden.
Petrus is charged with the murder of ex-girlfriend Ekandjo by strangling her with a tie last week Wednesday at her rented place in Khomasdal.
Distraught friends and relatives of the estranged couple filled the court-room to witness the start of court proceedings before Magistrate Johannes Shuuveni on Friday.
It is alleged that Petrus, in a fit of jealousy, killed Ekandjo, 22, after he gained entry into her flat in Khomasdal through a window and asked why she ended their relationship and who she was seeing.
Petrus allegedly then locked up Ekandjo’s roommate in a wardrobe before starting to strangling his ex. It is alleged that after Petrus murdered Ekandjo, he then set her roommate free and proceeded to interrogate her about Ekandjo’s love life, before he ran off.
Ekandjo was a fourth-year Information and Technology (IT) student at the Polytechnic of Namibia and worked as an intern with Telecom Namibia until her death.
Prosecutor Hans Karel Thourob asked the court to deny Petrus bail out of public interest and because of the incomplete investigation and the seriousness of the crime.
Petrus said that he would engage his own lawyer.
Briefing the suspect of his rights, Shuuveni told Petrus that if he wished to be released on bail, he should launch a formal application.
The Magistrate then postponed the matter to September 18 for further police investigations.
At the memorial, many described the late Ekandjo as a friendly and approachable woman. Others said she did not harbour any grudges against those who did her wrong. She also had social nature that made her interact well with different tribes and cultures.
“She was a smart and intelligent girl. Her family has been robbed of a future breadwinner, a God-fearing young lady, and Namibia has lost a future IT specialist,” a mourner said.