18 December 2002

Namibia: Soldier Claims Ignorance About AK-47 Used to Murder Farmer

A NAMIBIA Defence Force Sergeant Major, one of three men accused of murdering an Okahandja district farmer, yesterday said he had no idea how an NDF AK-47 rifle found its way into the hands of the farmer's alleged killer.

The NDF rifle is alleged to have been the weapon with which farmer Leopold Kober (68) was murdered at a cattle post at his farm Bag-Bag some 70 km north-west of Okahandja on November 1 2000.

About a week later, the two alleged killers, Alfeus Kahira and Jeffrey Kaome, were under arrest and Kahira took the Police to a spot outside Okahandja where both the AK-47 and a hunting rifle stolen from Kober were hidden.

He and Kaome then went on to accuse each other of carrying out the killing.

The third accused, NDF Sergeant Major Karl Kamusuvise, was also in Police custody shortly after the crime had been committed.

From his first appearances in court at Okahandja, he has denied any knowledge of the murder.

Kamusuvise continued in the same vein when he went into the witness stand before Judge Annel Silungwe in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

He told the court that in August 1999 he heard that some NDF firearms had been reported as lost.

One of these was later found near a railway line; more than that he did not know, Kamusuvise said.

He was also not called on to give any input to the work of a board of enquiry that was subsequently asked to look into the loss of the military weapons, he said.

Kamusuvise testified that he knew Kahira only from having had Kahira do work on his car.

That car had broken down in the week before the murder at Bag-Bag, and in that time he was occupied with arranging to have the vehicle repaired again.

During the trial, the State, represented by Deputy Prosecutor General Lourens Campher, has presented the evidence of a witness who told the court that three days before the killing, Kamusuvise visited both Kahira's and Kaome's houses at Okahandja.

The witness, Fransiska Gaoses, was Kahira's girlfriend at the time.

She said that during Kamusuvise's early-evening visit, while Kahira was not at home, Kamusuvise indicated to her that he was trying to find out if there was a gun at their home.

Kamusuvise flatly denied that this was the truth yesterday.

The court has also heard testimony from now-former Police Sergeant Reinhold Nangolo, who claimed Kaome told him he had heard Kamusuvise instructing Kahira to tell the court that Kahira had received the firearm from an NDF soldier who had since died.

Kahira has in the meantime preferred not to testify in his own defence.

Nangolo also told the court that record-keeping at the Osona Base, where Kamusuvise was stationed and from where the murder weapon is thought to have vanished, was of such a nature that it could not be established to which company Sergeant Major, and later on to which soldier, the AK-47 in question was issued.

The trial continues today, with Kamusuvise's defence counsel, Johan van Vuuren, set to continue to lead his evidence.

Kahira is represented by Clive Kavendjii; Titus Mbaeva is appearing for Kaome.

Kamusuvise is the only one of the three accused to be free on bail.

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