27 July 2010

Namibia: Learner Killed During Fight With Village Gang

Oshakati — A student from St Mary's High School at Odibo died during a fight between two rival groups last week.

Festus Chicco Shipindo (23), a grade 12 learner, was murdered on Wednesday night at cuca shops in front of the school.

Shipindo and his friends allegedly sneaked out of the school hostel in order to confront a group of village boys who provoked two of their friends earlier that evening.

During the fight, Shipindo was hit with a bottle on the head and died on the spot.

It is alleged that two of Shipindo's friends got out of school earlier to buy bread at the cuca shops in front of the school. Some school dropouts from the village approached them and asked for a cigarette.

When the two learners bought the cigarettes, the group consisting of dropouts demanded beer, but the learners refused. The mob grabbed one of the learners, and tried to grab his money by force.

The learner managed to get away but left his jacket behind.

Later, the boys accompanied by a group of other learners, left the school and returned to the same cuca shop at 22h00 to confront the village boys.

A fight erupted between the two groups. Shipindo was holding two of the village boys, hitting their heads against each other when another village boy threw a bottle and hit Shipindo at the back of the head.

According to the Principal of St Mary's Odibo High School, Eino Heelu, other boys from the school ran after the village mob. Shipindo by then had fallen to the ground.

"They ran to wake up the hostel superintendent but when he came, Festus [Shipindo] had no pulse on him," said Heelu.

Police arrived at the scene and rushed Shipindo to the Odibo Health Centre where he was pronounced dead.

According to Chief Inspector Abner Agas of Ohangwena Regional Police Serious Crime Investigation Unit, a 25-year-old man, identified as Pombili Matheus Nambindo was arrested in connection with the incident on Sunday.

Namhindo appeared in the Ohangwena Magistrate's Court yesterday where he was charged with murder. Shipindo, the son of a well-known media personality and businessman Lineekela Shipindo, was laid to rest at his hometown of Ongwediva.

When asked how the learners found themselves at the cuca shops at 22h00, on Wednesday, St Mary's Odibo School principal said the learners left school without the hostel superintendent or security personnel's knowledge.

"Evening studies take place between 18h00 and 20h00, learners are all expected to be in their hostels by 21h00 and the lights are switched off between 21h30 and 22h00.

But the learners took the law into their own hands and went out of the school," said Heelu.

According to Heelu, it is not clear how the learners managed to get out of school.

"The gate at the hospital is open 24 hours, they could've used one of the two," he said.

Heelu said cuca shops that are located in front of his school have been a problem for quite sometime, but the school is powerless to act.

He said because the school belongs to the Anglican Diocese Church, the church tried to address the problem but failed.

He said the town council (Helao Nafidi) also addressed the issue but since the owners of cuca shops have bought the land, it is difficult to remove them.

"Even when President Hifikepunye Pohamba was here, he complained about it but nothing was done," said Heelu.

"The only thing I can do is to tell the youth that if you want to live longer, you should respect the parents, the teachers, the fellow learners and most of all, the youth should respect God.

"They should respect the set-up rules for their environment and in this case - the school. If not, they should expect ugly things to happen to them, just like what happened to Festus Shipindo," said Heelu.

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