Namibia: Man Denies Guilt Over Killing of Pensioner

A man charged with having robbed and murdered a German pensioner at Swakopmund two years ago denied guilt on two charges in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

With his trial starting before acting judge Orben Sibeya, Unaaro Mbemukenga (27) pleaded not guilty to counts of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, telling the judge that he did not kill anyone and also did not rob anybody. Mbemukenga's defence lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, confirmed his plea, adding that Mbemukenga would at this stage exercise his right to remain silent about his defence on the charges.

Mbemukenga is charged in connection with the death of a Swakopmund resident, Manfred Karl Hartmann (78), at the coastal town on 17 August 2017.

The prosecution is alleging that Hartmann, a German citizen who was living at Swakopmund, employed Mbemukenga as a gardener before his death.

On 17 August 2017, Mbemukenga allegedly attacked Hartmann, assaulting him by striking him in the head with a brick and killing him by tying a rope around his neck and fastening the rope at an urinal in an outside toilet at Hartmann's house.

Hartmann died as a result of strangulation, a doctor who carried out an autopsy on his body concluded in a post-mortem report.

The state is also alleging that Mbemukenga robbed Hartmann by stealing various items - including N$1 500 in cash, a laptop computer, two cellphones, clothes and bedding - from him.

The police arrested Mbemukenga at Outjo about two days after the attack on Hartmann. He was shot in his one leg when he allegedly tried to evade arrest.

Mbemukenga admitted guilt to a charge of murder during an appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court in September 2017. However, during a bail hearing in the Windhoek High Court in November last year, he backtracked, and said he pleaded guilty because a police officer had instructed him to do so and had promised that he would be granted bail if he admitted guilt.

The prosecution, represented by state advocate Cliff Lutibezi, is expected to start presenting its evidence to the court today.

Mbemukenga has been kept in custody since his arrest.

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