Namibia: Burnt Girl Might Have Been Abused - Police

The police said the girl whose burnt body was found in a rubbish skip over the weekend in Windhoek might have been a victim of abuse.

The police are also suspecting that the child, who was found burnt beyond recognition in Windhoek North, is nine-year-old Akundaishe Chipomho, according to documents they have obtained. The police initially said she was 10 year old.

"There are strong suspicions that the child is Akundaishe Natalie Chipomho, who was born in Harare [Zimbabwe] but the identity has to be confirmed," police deputy commissioner Nelius Becker said at a press conference in Windhoek yesterday.

The child's body was discovered by a passer-by in Windhoek North over the weekend. The police on Sunday arrested a Zimbabwean couple, along with a woman, suspected to be the girl's mother in connection with her death.

He said investigations are at an early stage and that the postmortem has not yet been done to establish the cause of death.

"We will also be looking at whether the deceased was dead or alive at the time when the burning occurred.

"We could not do the postmortem today [yesterday] because we first want to X-ray the remains. By tomorrow [today] we should be doing the autopsy, which will hopefully provide more information as to the cause of death," he added. Becker said it appears the skip was the primary scene for the burning of the body, although this is not certain.

He said they received information after subsequent investigations, after a man and woman were seen in a video footage dragging a wheelie bin at around 21h00 on Friday evening. Becker said door to door enquiries resulted in the identification of a suspicious premises being rented by a Zimbabwean man at a town house complex called Jatties Park no 39 in the Rhino Park area.

"The two bedroom house was occupied by two Zimbabwean adult females, a Zimbabwean male, a baby, two boys aged between nine and 11," he said.Becker said another occupant who used to live in the house was a nine-year-old girl, suspected to be the deceased.

He said they found one person in the house, suspected to be the biological mother of the deceased, who was the first to be arrested. He said the suspected mother is said to have a temporary permanent residence permit in Namibia and is employed as a registered nurse in Windhoek.

He said further investigations reveal that the other suspects, the Zimbabwean man and his wife, were in a vehicle heading north in an attempt to flee the country on Sunday and that the police set up a roadblock at Okakarara where they were subsequently arrested. He added that a Zimbabwean taxi driver, who was transporting the suspected couple, was transported back to Windhoek for questioning, although he has not been arrested.

Evidence gathered also reveals that the deceased might have been assaulted.

"Information that has been gathered from neighbours is that the children, more specifically the deceased, might have been assaulted on several occasions," he said. He said the neighbours did not report it to the police but to social services last year and that social services reported it last year.

Nelius said the couple were also residing in the complex at Rhino Park.

He said the police vehicle which was transporting the male suspect was later involved in an accident on Sunday and the suspect sustained serous injuries and has been admitted at a hospital in Windhoek.

The police is questioning the two female suspects who are due to appear in court tomorrow.

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