Mysterious vanishings unsolved at Tsumkwe

30 October 2019 | Crime

The Ju/'hoan Traditional Authority, the Otjozondjupa regional council and the police are concerned about a number of people who have disappeared without a trace at Tsumkwe.

Since 2017, four people, including a police officer, have gone missing during the rainy season and were never found.

The regional councillor for the Tsumkwe Constituency, Francina Hishekwa-Ghauz, told Namibian Sun that the last time she had heard about people disappearing at Tsumkwe was around 1987 and 1989 when two girls went missing and were never found.

About 30 years later, it has happened again.

Five-year-old Elven Bergers went missing on 24 December last year. On 8 December last year, Johannes Kadhiya (43), who worked at a butchery at Ondangwa, went missing in the Rooidag Gate area while loading cattle. In 2017, a 55-year-old police officer, Sergeant Petrus Nghinananye Lukas, went missing in the Gam area; and in 2016, a woman went missing at the Tsumkwe settlement.

Hishekwa-Ghauz says the relatives of the four missing people contact her office from time to time, asking for updates.

“I was born and grew up at Tsumkwe and disappearing of people is not something common in the area. Last time I heard of people disappearing at Tsumkwe was when I was still in school around 1987 and 1989, when two girls went missing and they were never found. It went all quiet until it started again in 2016,” says Hishekwa-Ghauz.

“People are reported missing but are never found; not even their bones are found.

“The area is bushy and 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,” she said.

The advisor to Chief Tsemkxao #Oma of the Ju/'hoan Traditional Authority, Tsamkgao #Oma, told Namibian Sun: “The four missing people were reported to the Ju/'hoan Traditional Authority and all these people went missing during the rainy season. Every time a person is reported missing, the community assists the search with horses, but these four people were never recovered.

“The problem is that every time people go missing you start hearing too many stories which one cannot validate, and that makes it difficult for us to know the exact cause of these mysterious disappearances.”

#Oma says there were other people who were reported missing, but the community succeeded in tracing them.

He says the Tsumkwe area is large and the bush is dense, making it easy for someone who is unfamiliar with the place to get lost there.

“There might be something confusing people in the forest and they never find their way back. Since there are wild animals in the forest, we suspect that they may have eaten the bodies of these missing people because not even their bones could be recovered.

“There are many people who have gone missing in the forest and the community managed to track them. These are people who had cellphones and called for help. The community teamed up and searched for them successfully,” #Oma says.

He advises people who get lost in the forest to climb the highest tree they can find until they can see in which direction the MTC network tower is.

Those visiting the area must get the contact numbers of local people so that they can call for help if they get into trouble. Even better, they should ask local people to escort them wherever they want to go.

ILENI NANDJATO

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