New Era (Windhoek)

25 February 2014

Namibia: Passion Killings Claimed 36 Lives

Photo: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton
Sam Nujoma.

Windhoek — A shocking 36 women have died at the hands of their lovers since January 2013 to date, in what could be categorized as "passion killings", according to the latest crime statistics availed to New Era by the Namibian Police (Nampol).

Of the 36 cases, 25 murder cases were recorded in 2013 while this year 12 cases were reported in the first two months of this year so far.

Although females are usually the victims, six women were charged with killing their male partners or spouses while men committed the rest of the murders.

Three male suspects committed suicide after their heinous deeds, in which either a knife, firearm or traditional weapon was used as murder weapon.

Nampol described passion killing as murder cases between intimate partners such as husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, ex-husband/ex-wife or ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend.

Omusati leads with the highest number of passion killing cases in the country with eight cases, followed by Kavango West and Kavango East with seven cases.

//Karas, Omaheke and Ohangwena regions have each reported four cases of gender based killings while Hardap Region recorded three.

Khomas Region follows suit with two cases, of which one murder was committed just last Saturday while Otjozondjupa Region recorded two cases as well.

Oshana, Oshikoto and Erongo each documented one case of crime of passion killing since January 2013.

No cases of such a nature were reported from Zambezi and Kunene regions.

In cases in which seven women were beheaded over the period, the commonly used weapon was a knife, panga, axe, pistol or strangulation, while a rifle, shoelace, stick and fire were also used in each incident.

The year 2014 started off on a gruesome note with January alone breaking the record with seven cases and five cases in February so far.

Almost all of last year, with the exception of October, four passion killings were committed each month from January through March.

The killings slowed down to one killing each month from April to July, only to pick up again in August and September with two murders and three murders in November and December 2013.

The Nampol statistics indicate that most suspects were in their twenties when they committed the violent acts, while the victims were also in their twenties.

This is followed by the second highest number of both victims and suspects of crimes of passion being in the thirties age group.

The youngest suspect was a 19-year-old male while the oldest suspect was a 64-year-old at the time they were accused of committing the crime.

The youngest victim was an 18-year-old female while the oldest victim was a 64-year-old female.

Police strongly believe that most of the passion crime accused committed these acts while they were under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

"Although the causes of gender-based violence (GBV) varies, according to researchers, the notable motives of such heinous crimes range from customs, traditional beliefs, illiteracy and limited education, unequal power relations and low status of women," said Nampol in a statement.

The police also strongly believe that alcohol, drugs and jealousy accompanied by greed and social inequality contribute to these incidents.

According to Nampol, one of the challenges associated with GBV is that the crime is committed in the private sphere of the home, while gender inequality is the root cause and the premature withdrawal of GBV cases by some complainants is an additional contributing factor.

"Both men and women need to stand up against those men who disrespect women in our communities," reads a statement by the police.

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InFocus

Rise in 'Passion Killings' in Namibia

Sam Nujoma.

Former president Sam Nujoma has called on Namibian men to stop killing of women, and for an end to any form of gender-based violence. Read more »