Namibia: Man Arrested Over Death of Young Woman

14 February 2020

A man who was arrested over the death of a young woman, who was found barely conscious in the Auspannplatz area of Windhoek, will appear in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court today.

The deceased, identified as Cynthia Mutalipula Maswahu, was discovered by City Police officers at around 02h00 on Sunday, 2 February, opposite the government flats along Rehobother Street. She was rushed to Katutura Intermediate Hospital where she died a few days later.

Police deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi yesterday confirmed in a media statement that the suspect (32), whose name is known to The Namibian but cannot be revealed, was arrested on Wednesday. The suspect was expected to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court yesterday. However, the control prosecutor at the court revealed that the docket lacked some material that the court wanted before he could be charged.

"So far it is alleged that the deceased jumped out of a moving vehicle during a misunderstanding between the suspect and the deceased," Shikwambi said. "She was brought to the Windhoek Police Station, however, she collapsed and the police called an ambulance which took her to Katutura Intermediate Hospital where she was admitted in the ICU, however, [she] died during the night of 6 February [last Thursday]," she added.

She said that while no crime was initially observed in the incident, the deceased's family probed the police for further investigations and opened a case.

The incident first came to light via social media when members of the public raised questions about the circumstances surrounding Maswahu's death.

Shikwambi said a friend of the suspect, who was with him on the night of the incident, informed the police of what happened. Subsequently, the suspect was turned in by his lawyer.

A source close to the family of the deceased who did not want to be named, revealed to The Namibian that while the death certificate issued to the family stated that the deceased's cause of death was unknown, the doctor who attended to the deceased while she was in the intensive care unit at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital allegedly informed the family otherwise.

The family was informed that the medical examination conducted on Maswahu while she was in the ICU indicated that she was beaten and raped. The source claims they were informed by the doctor that the woman died from internal bleeding.

Shikwambi could only confirm that the post-mortem indicated head injuries, as well as injuries on the neck and back.

Maswahu's family is from Katima Mulilo, and it was only when they contacted the police to file a missing person's report that they learnt that she was admitted in the ICU.

Maswahu was buried on Thursday at Mpola village near Katima Mulilo.

*The Namibian corrected the deceased's name from Cynthia Mashuhu Mutayipula to Cynthia Mutalipula Maswahu, as stipulated by a close member of her family.

*This story has been updated.

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