5 February 2018

Namibia: Farm Murder Suspects in Court Today

TWO of the three suspects arrested in connection with the killing of an elderly couple on farm Lindeshof in the Koës area of the //Karas region on Friday night, only confessed to burglary to a Keetmanshoop magistrate yesterday.

The two suspects, aged 37 and 36, confessed that they went to the farm to steal, and had gained access to the couple's farm house through a window, The Namibian was informed.

They had been taken to a magistrate to have their confessions recorded and confirmed, but they denied murdering the couple.

Police arrested two suspects at Koës and the third one at Aranos on Saturday in connection with the murders of 'oom' Giel Botma and his wife, 'tannie' Sarie Botma, whose bodies were discovered by a neighbouring farmer on Saturday morning. //Karas regional crimes coordinator, deputy commissioner Chrispin Mubebo, said Giel Botma had died of a gunshot wound to the head, while his wife appeared to have been strangled.

He said two of the suspects were traced and arrested after police followed their footprints from the farm to Koës, while the third one, who had allegedly driven off in the couple's white Hilux bakkie, was arrested at a house at Aranos.

The third suspect had also hit and killed a horse while fleeing to Aranos in the Botmas' vehicle, Mubebo explained.

He said a rifle and a 9mm pistol allegedly stolen during the burglary at the farm house on Thursday were also recovered.

"The couple had reported a case of housebreaking to the police over the phone, but later decided not to lay a formal criminal charge after they found that N$400 had been stolen during the burglary," he added.

The suspects, Mubebo said, went back to the farm on Friday night, and murdered the couple before stealing some of their belongings.

The family of the deceased couple still has to determine what had been stolen during the burglary, while the police also recovered two cameras and the vehicle in which the third suspect had fled.

The vehicle was found parked behind the Aranos house where the police arrested him.

The double murder has sent shockwaves through the local farming community.

According to Mubebo, the farmer who found the couple's bodies on Saturday morning said he went to their farm to check why they were not answering his phone calls.

The police boss then commended the Koës area farming community for having assisted the police in tracking the murder suspects, and urged them to intensify neighbourhood watch activities in the fight against crime in their area.

When the murder was discovered on Saturday morning, neighbours and the local farmers' association quickly shared the information on various social media groups, and road monitoring was done across the south and eastern parts of Namibia, and even up to Windhoek.

A helicopter was also used in the search for the couple's murderers.

Farmers yesterday circulated text messages on social media, calling for peaceful demonstrations at court today to protest against the granting of bail to the suspects.

"We are requesting all members of the public to come and join us at 10h00 at the court (Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court) to stand in solidarity against the granting of bail to the suspects, and against farm murders in our area," the WhatsApp message read.

The suspects are expected to appear in court on murder, housebreaking and robbery charges.

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