Dangerous suspect back in custody

Eight of the eleven prisoners who broke out of the Kongola police cells last week have been re-arrested, including Ndozi Ndozi, who is charged with the murder of tour guide Andi Maier.

15 November 2019 | Crime

A successful manhunt by the police to recapture fugitive murder accused Ndozi Ndozi in Zambia shortly after his jailbreak with 11 others a week ago was met with profound relief by the family of the late Andi Maier (42), who was murdered in the Zambezi Region in 2015.

Ndozi and his uncle, Walter Lwendo Lupalwezi, and Harris Sijiwa have been in custody since July 2015 in connection with Maier's death.

The men are accused of attacking Maier, a well-known Namibian tour guide, and a female friend while they were sleeping in a tent in Mudumu National Park in the Zambezi Region in the early hours of 10 July 2015.

Maier paid with his life when he managed to untie himself and came to the defence of his friend, whom Ndozi and Lupalwezi were attempting to rape, according to police investigations.

They allegedly stabbed Maier multiple times before fleeing on foot to a getaway car in which Sijiwa and a fourth suspect, who remains at large, were waiting.

The three are charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, assault and attempted rape. At the time of his arrest, Lupalwezi was allegedly out on bail on another rape charge.



Success

A week ago, Ndozi and 11 others broke out of the Kongola police cells. Four of them were recaptured by Saturday, while two more were caught in Namibia on Monday.

Ndozi and Sepiso Evans were caught in Zambia late on Wednesday. Two other fugitives who were with Ndozi and Evans managed to flee, but the police remain hot on their trail.

The Zambezi regional crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Evans Simasiku, yesterday confirmed that Ndozi was on his way back to Namibia and would face an additional charge of escaping from lawful custody.

He said following the jailbreak on Friday the police immediately reached out to their counterparts in Zambia, on the suspicion that some of the fleeing inmates were heading across the border.



Relief

Anita Maier, mother of the deceased, said she was deeply shocked when she heard one of the men accused of murdering her son had managed to escape.

She said the family feared Ndozi would no longer be held accountable for his actions. When the family were told late on Wednesday that he was in custody again, they were overjoyed.

“It's fantastic. We were so relieved when the police informed us,” she said.

Maier's sister, Verena Maier, said she “was over the moon when I heard the good news. He will be returned to jail to face justice. She said the family's fear that the State's case could face a major setback was immediately put to rest.

She praised the police, not only for the quick work to trace Ndozi and return him to Namibia, but for the swift arrest of the three suspects four and a half years ago.

“The fact that this happened so quickly is amazing. We are grateful.”

The family further thanked the authorities for keeping them informed while the manhunt for Ndozi was under way.

The murder trial is at an advanced stage, with the State expected to close its case by December.

It is unclear whether the accused will testify in their defence and when a judgment can be expected. A recorded confession by Ndozi, which the court has ruled to be admissible as evidence, forms a crucial piece of the evidence against the trio.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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