Mysterious fires torment another family

Another family in the north, this time at Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region, say unexplained fires are making their lives a misery.

12 February 2020 | Local News

An Oniihandi family at Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region has been tormented by mysterious fires since December.

Fires gutted the main rooms of their house, leaving the family of six with nothing.

Last week Namibian Sun reported about a similar situation at Epandulo village near Eheke in the Oshana Region, where a family of seven is living in fear of mysterious fires that first scorched their homestead last November.

A tent provided by the regional council, which was erected in their mahangu field also burnt down on Monday afternoon. Nothing was recovered.

Ondangwa Rural Constituency councillor Kaushiweni Abraham has called on spiritual leaders to visit the affected families and offer counselling and support.

At Oniihandi, according to 55-year-old Katrina Shilongo, a fire started at their uncle Jailus France Shikale's house on 30 December, where it burnt down a store room. Nothing was recovered.

The following day, another fire burnt down four sleeping rooms.

“It was morning time. While we were busy in the mahangu field, a child who went in the house came back telling us that one of the buildings belonging to my brother was on fire. We managed to fight the fire with the assistance of

Ondangwa town council fire-fighters and neighbours. Just after we finished, another room started burning. Another one burnt at midday and another in the afternoon,” Shilongo said.

“After that, it came again on 15, 24, 25, 28 and 30 January, and lately on 2 February. It's just burning rooms and no other structures. In some rooms, we managed to recover a few items, but in some nothing, especially when it was noticed late.”

Shilongo's children's books and school uniforms were destroyed and they are now struggling to go to school.

No one knows where the fires are coming from, she said, and lately it has become dangerous because beds catch fire while people are lying on them.

“One day I was just lying on a bed under a tree with the children when I heard them saying that the bed was on fire and I quickly got away.

“Another day, children were seated on a mattress under a different tree and it also just started burning. One child got burnt on one hand but it was not serious,” she said.

Clothes, furniture, bedding and other valuable items have all been destroyed by the fires, Shilongo said, adding that a donated tent and matrasses have also burnt.

They have since taken their belongings out of the rooms to an open space, where they are still burning one by one.

Shilongo added that the three children she lives with are being tortured by the situation, which might affect them psychologically.

“Everywhere those children are, they are just talking about fire. We sleep on the ground on an open space where we are suffering from mosquitos. Every night, we fear that a fire might come and burn us while we are sleeping.”

ILENI NANDJATO

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