Mysterious vanishings at Tsumkwe

05 February 2019 | Crime

The Otjozondjupa police are concerned about an increasing number of people disappearing without a trace at Tsumkwe.

Since 2016, four people, including a police officer, have gone missing and were never found.

The latest missing person is five-year-old Elven Bergers, who went missing on 24 December last year.

The boy, from Oluhepo village in the Mangetti area of the Tsumkwe constituency, went missing while harvesting wild fruit with his three brothers, aged 9, 10 and 11.

The barefoot boy was wearing a grey T-shirt and blue shorts.

According to the Otjozondjupa police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha, all four boys were reported missing, but three of them were found.

One was found on 27 December and the other two a day later.

“The youngest was never discovered despite an operation by the police force, the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and nature conservation officials. They were dispatched to conduct an intensive search in the area, but the child could not be found,” Mbeha said.

“The Otjozondjupa police are seriously concerned about the mysterious way in which people are disappearing at Tsumkwe, who are never found. I now call on members of the public to refrain from going far into the bush when visiting or living at Tsumkwe.”

On 8 December last year, Johannes Kadhiya (43), who was employed at a 24-hour butchery at Ondangwa, went missing in the Rooidag Gate area while loading cattle. Efforts to trace him have proved futile. In 2017, a 55-year-old police officer, Sergeant Petrus Nghinananye Lukas, went missing in the Gam area and was never found.

In 2016, a woman went missing in the Tsumkwe settlement and was never found.

“We do not understand what is going on in that area; people are just missing and they are never found. In some areas police can search for a person and later on they discover bones, and in most cases the forensic tests can match them to a missing person, but in the area of Tsumkwe not even bones were found,” Mbeha said. She said Tsumkwe is a vast area and the biggest part of it is covered by dense bush.

Tsumkwe constituency councillor Fransina Gauz confirmed that four people have been reported missing in Tsumkwe since 2016.

“That place is bushy and sometimes police officers might also be afraid to go there. We understand that the area is more problematic when it is raining. I do not know whether it is the rain that is a problem or what is really the problem,” Gauz said.

“I requested a meeting with the regional police head just to brief me on what is really going on in Tsumkwe. We need to understand the whole story, including information from the investigating officers.”


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