New Era (Windhoek)

20 April 2012

Namibia: Student Murdered On Campus

Windhoek — A third-year economics student at the University of Namibia (Unam) died yesterday after being stabbed 14 times by another student.

The suspect reportedly accused the deceased of having "bewitched" him. The horror killing took place at the campus dormitories.

The motive for the killing is still sketchy, but some students who spoke on condition of anonymity said the suspect complained that the victim had bewitched him leaving him with a dysfunctional erectile condition.

The incident, which left the institution's staff and students reeling with shock, apparently took place around six in the moring when the deceased, who lived in Block D, Room 3 and who has been identified as Johannes Shapange, went to the bathroom to take a shower.

According to witnesses the alleged killer, the second-year law student, who lived in the same block, confronted Shapange who was taking a shower and stabbed him several times before he (the deceased) ran outside the dormitory.

The assailant chased after him and continued to stab him until he fell to the ground.

According to unconfirmed reports, the deceased sustained three chest wounds, a cut in the face and several wounds to his back.

A student, who also lived in Block D, said some students prayed for the suspect the night before over his troubles and were shocked to learn what had happened.

"I heard girls screaming (yesterday morning) and saw a lot of people standing around the victim, " he said.

After the stabbing, the suspect reportedly went back to the dormitory, took a bath and proceeded to class but was arrested on the way.

Edwin Tjiramba, Unam's director of communication, confirmed the tragic incident and said that a doctor at the Roman Catholic Hospital told him that they had tried everything they could but the student passed on.

Tjiramba said he could not give further details as the matter was in the hands of the police who have opened a criminal inquiry.

"But we informed the next of kin and had a meeting with the family," he added, saying that the Unam staff were distraught and grieving over the tragedy.

Tjiramba said in all the eleven years that he has been at Unam, nothing similar has happened on campus.

Unam is waiting for an official report from the police before making a further statement.

"Security of our students is of paramount importance to us," he said, adding that in terms of the institution's rules, no student is allowed to carry or keep weapons.

He said the dean of students and security personnel periodically carry out impromptu searches at night to make sure that no weapons and alcohol are brought on campus.

But some students interviewed on campus had a different view about security on campus. Rahab Shilongo, a records and archiving diploma student said she does not feel safe anymore as there is no control on campus.

"The security do not even ask student, cards or search cars," she said, adding that Unam is now again in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Fellow classmate, Magano Nepolo, said she was shocked by the killing.

"They care more about students' money and themselves," Monika Gabriel lashed out, questioning how they could accommodate a "mentally sick" person in the hostel.

It is alleged that the dean of students knew about the suspect's mental condition with some students saying the suspect was mentally unstable.

Vincent Amadhila, a first-year architecture student, said the incident would blemish the university's image and scare away potential students from enrolling at the institution.

Unam SRC President, Edison Nengola, said they would only release a statement after police investigations.

"On behalf of students, we send our message of condolence to the bereaved family. It is unfortunate that an incident of this nature occurred at university," he said.

Namibian Police Deputy Commissioner, Sylvanus Nghishindimbwa, confirmed the incident but said he had no further information and would also not confirm that the suspect had been arrested.

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