Namibia: Pesticide Kills One At Walvis, Two Hospitalised

12 August 2019

Walvis Bay — One person was found dead while two others were rushed to hospital on Saturday morning after they allegedly inhaled a deadly pesticide at Walvis Bay.

The tragic incident happened in a shack in Kilimanjaro Street in Kuisebmond.

The deceased was identified as Thomas Katakula, 38. The two being treated at the Walvis Bay State Hospital are Maria Shipanga, 21, and Tomas Ithindi, 38. Both are said to be in a stable condition.

Acting crime coordinator for the Namibian Police Foce (NamPol) in Erongo, Detective Inspector Daniel Gurirab on Saturday said the three were sharing the shack with Kamungu Henock Nehongo, who allegedly sprayed a pesticide inside the shack on Thursday.

According Gurirab, Nehongo told the police that he fumigated their shack to kill pestering insects.

The pesticide was identified as Quickphos, whose online description states that it is deadly and poisonous and should be handled carefully.

The product releases the dangerous phosphine gas slowly in moist air and immediately if wet. It can kill if inhaled or swallowed and should be applied wearing gloves and full facepiece respirator with combined dust and gas cartridge (canister or supplied air respirator). Primarily, the pesticide is used to keep grain pest-free.

Police yesterday said they are still investigating how the pesticide was used that it caused the death of Katakula.

"Nehongo explained that he found one of his friends dead and another unconscious when he returned from work on Saturday morning," Gurirab said yesterday.

Nehongo allegedly asked for assistance from their landlord, who immediately took his two friends to hospital for medical attention and also notified the police about the incident.

A post-mortem will be conducted this week to determine whether the deceased indeed died as a result of the poisonous insecticide in order to register a culpable homicide case for investigation.

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