Mukwiilongo murder trial to kick off

18 September 2019 | Justice

The trial of six suspects, who were arrested in 2017 in connection with the murder of former Omusati governor Leonard Nangolo Mukwiilongo, will kick off tomorrow in the Oshakati High Court.

They are accused of attacking Mukwiilongo, who was then 92 years old, on 11 April 2017 at his Elim residence.

The suspects allegedly tortured and assaulted the former governor, while demanding the keys to his safe. He later succumbed to his injuries. The trial was initially set to start on Monday, but was postponed until Thursday to allow the State time to consult with a witness. Stefanus Nampala, Willen Nakale, Tomas Amwele, Abraham Ashipena, Joram Hafeni and Evalistus Shilongo Shituki are appearing before Judge Johanna Salionga. They face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and contravening section 2 of the Arms and Ammunition Act 7 of 1996. State advocate Ruben Shileka yesterday requested that Judge Salionga postpone the matter to Thursday, saying the State needed time to consult with a witness, while defence lawyers would also not be present on some days this week. Mukwiilongo died on 25 May 2017 in a private hospital, where he had spent about a month in a critical condition following the attack.

According to his son, Tshatipamba, six armed men arrived at his father's house on 11 April at around 11:00 in the morning and found Mukwiilongo and a housekeeper sitting outside. The suspects allegedly forced them inside the house, where they demanded money. Tshatipamba said the men blindfolded his father and the housekeeper, before demanding the safe keys. Mukwiilongo refused to hand over the keys. The suspects then used burning plastic bags to torture the former governor. He was later hit on the head with a pistol.

After they failed to find the safe keys, the robbers locked Mukwiilongo and the housekeeper inside a room and tried to flee with the safe.

However, the safe was heavy, and while they were struggling to load it into their car, the housekeeper managed to untie herself and also untied Mukwiilongo.

She escaped from the room through a window and ran for help. When the robbers saw her running, they fled and left the safe behind.

Four of the accused were arrested in May 2017 and appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court. During that time Nakale was in police custody in Windhoek, following his arrest for a different matter, while Shituki was still at large. Nampala is represented by Simson Aingura, while Marcia Amupolo is representing Nakale.

Amwele and Shituki are represented by Petrina Hango, while Melvin Nyambe is representing Shipena. Hafeni is represented by Tuwilika Shailemo.

ILENI NANDJATO

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