No suspect in NIMT killings

26 April 2019 | Crime

Ten days after the double murder of NIMT managing director Eckhart Mueller and his deputy Heimo Hellwig, the police are yet to arrest a suspect.

This was confirmed yesterday by Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu, the regional commander of the Erongo police.

“No person has yet been arrested, charged, or is a suspect,” he reiterated yesterday.

This statement comes two days after the spokesperson for the Namibian police, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi, officially announced that NIMT instructor Ernst Lichtenstrasser had been arrested for double murder and was to appear before the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court on the same day. Lichtenstrasser did not appear in court that day on a charge of murder.

“It probably was an internal misunderstanding,” Nelumbu said yesterday.

According to the police chief, Lichtenstrasser was arrested for “another offense”, which is why he is still in custody.

Lichtenstrasser was arrested at Karibib shortly after the murder, allegedly in possession of two .22 cartridges for which he could not provide a licence. He was brought before the Karibib Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where he was denied bail.

Whether Lichtenstrasser is a “person of interest” in the murder case, Nelumbu did not wish to answer.

“There were many people of interest who were also questioned,” he said. Nelumbu repeated an appeal to the public to report “credible information” that could lead to the arrest of the NIMT shooter(s).

“Unfortunately, some information has been published in the media that should not be distributed there,” he said, without going into detail.



Hunger strike

During Lichtenstrasser's court appearance on Tuesday on a charge of illegal possession of ammunition, he described the conditions of his incarceration as “cruel and a serious health risk”.

According to The Namibian, he added that, “I am also on a hunger strike now until I get to speak to my lawyer or to my wife, or until I am released on bail.”

Mueller and Hellwig were shot dead on 15 April in front of the main entrance of the renowned training centre in Arandis. According to the police eight shots were fired.

Classes at the Arandis campus were scheduled to resume on Tuesday this week, but all apprentices were sent home because the police wanted to re-examine the scene a week after the murders.

“The police cleared the scene on Wednesday evening and we can re-enter the campus,” NIMT principal Ralph Bussel said yesterday.

The NIMT staff will resume work on 2 May.

“We agreed on that date due to the upcoming memorial services of the two victims and the public holiday on 1 May.

“Training at the other NIMT campuses (Tsumeb and Keetmanshoop) is not affected,” Bussel said.

ERWIN LEUSCHNER