Nation reels over NIMT bloodbath

16 April 2019 | Crime

Personnel at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) expressed deep shock and sadness yesterday after NIMT founder and executive director Eckhart Mueller (72) and his deputy, Heimo Hellwig (60), were shot dead at Arandis.

While the police hunt for the shooter continued yesterday afternoon, the institution temporarily closed its doors for the next week.





Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu of the Erongo police urged anyone with information on the crime to come forward.

The murders took place at around 06:00 yesterday morning, after Mueller and Hellwig had arrived at the NIMT head office in Arandis.

The police confirmed that nine cartridge casings from a nine-millimetre pistol were found next to the two bodies.

The location of the casings indicated that the shots were fired at close range, Iikuyu said.

“Both victims had gunshot wounds in their stomachs and heads,” Iikuyu said.

Both men's bags and other belongings were found at the scene, and nothing seemed to have been stolen.

Arandis mayor Risto Kapenda told the media that the double murders looked like “an execution”.

The mayor, who visited the scene, said he was “deeply shocked and shaken”.

Kapenda described Mueller as a person who had built not only NIMT, but helped build Arandis.

“He was not only important to Arandis but to Namibia,” he said.



Witnesses

“I heard several loud bangs,” Gertrud Naobes, a senior matron at the NIMT campus, told Namibian Sun's sister publication, Allgemeine Zeitung (AZ), yesterday.

A security guard who had also heard the shots ran towards Naobes a few minutes later, asking her to call the police.

Shortly afterwards she was at the scene, where she found Mueller, already dead, and Hellwig, who was still alive.

“Mr Hellwig tried to say something, but he could not speak, and pointed his finger. Then he died,” she recalled.

Police cordoned off the crime scene in record time and NIMT students and personnel were ordered to go home.

Several onlookers expressed sadness and horror.

“The question is not who it was, but why. These murders seem to be an act of revenge, or an execution,” one onlooker commented.

Campus principal Ralph Bussel said NIMT would be closed for a week.

“It is impossible to continue as normal here. It's especially hard when our two executives were taken away in this cruel way,” Bussel said.

The school's department heads met briefly yesterday morning and agreed to reopen NIMT on Tuesday, 23 April.

Bussel added that NIMT would do its best to go on without Mueller.

Mueller had been involved in education for a long time before founding NIMT.

ERWIN LEUSCHNER