5 February 2013

Namibia: Fugitive Murder and Rape Suspect Rearrested

ONE of the men accused of the brutal rape and murder of a woman at Swakopmund in September 2005 was rearrested on Saturday, after spending more than a year and a half as a fugitive from justice.

Having managed to evade the police since June 2011, when his trial was supposed to start in the High Court in Windhoek, Michael Tsowaseb's luck ran out at Okahandja on Saturday afternoon. That was when a police officer based at the town, Detective Warrant Officer Reinhardt Maletzky, tracked Tsowaseb down and rearrested him.

Tsowaseb (37) appeared in the Okahandja Magistrate's Court on an arrest warrant yesterday. He was then informed that he would have to appear in the High Court on March 4 - and that he would remain in custody until then.

Tsowaseb and a co-accused, Kinsley Dausab (40), are due to go on trial on counts of murder, rape, violating a dead human body, and theft.

They are accused of having gang-raped and murdered the 34-year-old Menesia Owoses at Swakopmund during the night of September 3 to 4 2005.

It is alleged that Tsowaseb, Dausab and Owoses met each other at a bar at the town and later went to a house, where the two men are claimed to have stolen a wall clock.

They were still in each other's company when they left the house to go to a nightclub, the prosecution is claiming. On their way to the club, it is alleged, the two men attacked Owoses, overpowering her and taking turns raping her.

She was murdered by strangulation, it is also charged.

Her body was then violated when a broken bottle, stone or other object was used to cut and stab her neck, face and private parts, and when the men sexually violated her corpse, the prosecution is also charging.

The Namibian previously reported that Tsowaseb placed the blame for Owoses's violent death on Dausab's shoulders when the two men first gave their plea to the charges during an appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court.

Tsowaseb reportedly told the magistrate that he had undressed himself and intended to rape Owoses when he realised that she was dead - having been killed by Dausab, who apparently broke her neck, he claimed. He also claimed that Dausab had hit Owoses in the face with a rock and that Dausab had tried to mutilate her private parts.

Tsowaseb and Dausab were granted bail in an amount of N$2 000 each on April 2 2009. Tsowaseb was released after his bail has been paid on May 22 2009.

By June 2011, which was when the two men's trial was scheduled to start, Tsowaseb went on the run.

Dausab continued to make pre-trial appearances in the High Court after that, as their case was repeatedly postponed to give the police more time to try to rearrest Tsowaseb. Dausab is still free on bail.

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