Onayena community living in fear of witchcraft practices

ONAYENA: Community members at Onayena settlement in the Oshikoto Region have accused certain individuals in the area of abducting and killing weaker members of that community so that they can remove their private parts for witchcraft practices.

Members of the community on Sunday held a meeting with the councillor of Onayena Constituency, Marx Nekongo at their settlement, and demanded that action should be taken against the suspected culprits.

This demand was confirmed by Nekongo in an interview with Nampa shortly after the meeting. Nekongo said members of the community want the suspected culprits to be apprehended and to be brought before the traditional court for a hearing/trial.

Community members alleged that weak people, such as drunkards and the mentally unstable, are often targeted by people who are practising witchcraft.

The witchcraft is locally known as omindaba.

Although members of the community have apparently already identified some of the culprits, Nekongo said local members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) are still unable to offer any assistance.

According to Nekongo, community members of Onayena have since 2004 noticed that people from that area were disappearing and later found dead in dams or in pools of water with their private parts removed.

“No solution to this problem could be found because our Police officers don’t want to get involved,” Nekongo charged, adding that several community members have even once claimed that they have seen some of the Police officers sharing drinks with the suspected culprits at the cuca shops in Onayena.

Members of the community have also alleged that some people died of poisoning after drinking tombo (an alcoholic homebrew) at certain cuca shops at Onayena.

“The reputation of our constituency is damaged, because these reports of people being killed here for witchcraft have tarnished the image Onayena,” Nekongo stated.

He said his office was going to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations to ensure that the Police take the matter seriously.

The community has named at least seven people who were apparently killed and found thrown in water ponds without their private parts within the Onayena area.

Crime investigations coordinator of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Oshikoto Region, Deputy Commissioner Naomi Katjiua told Nampa upon enquiry on Thursday that law enforcement officers have no record of a person found dead in water without their private parts at Onayena.