Daughters want mother’s killers in jail

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE daughters of late Sofia Naango Kleopas are demanding that two young men who are accused of having assaulted their now deceased 82-year-old mother should rot in jail as they allegedly caused the untimely death of their mother.

Speaking to Confidente at Oshakati Magistrates Court on Monday, after the hearing of a bail application by one of the suspects, Absalom Amwaama, the daughters of the deceased woman, Victoria and Sofia (the latter is named after her mother) said Amwaama who wants to be released from custody to look after his children was joking, because he had committed a serious crime in taking their mother’s life.

“What is he saying? He is playing, we lost our mother. Our mother died because of his actions. When he is saying that he wants to go and look after his children, who is looking after us? Who is looking after our kids? We don’t have a mother. He should know that. He must remain in jail,” said a tearful Victoria Amweelo, the late Kleopas’ firstborn.

Sofia said they are praying for a stiffer sentence and for the arrest of another suspect, who is still at large.

Amwaama is accused of having assaulted and robbed the 82-years-old pensioner of N$10 300 last month. The victim reportedly succumbed to the injuries she sustained in the attack two weeks ago.

Confidente understands that Amwaama (30) and his co-accused, pretended to be a taxi driver and offered to give the late Sophia Naango Kleopas and her neighbour, Simaneka Ashipala (42), a lift from Oshakati to Ekuku village near Okatana.

However, the suspects took another road and gave false hope that they would drive to Okatana after another criminal – acting as a passenger – picked up his keys at Uupindi location, west of Oshakati. However, this was not done.

Witness account

Recalling the gruesome incident, Ashipala said she had accompanied her mother to withdraw money from First National Bank Oshakati main branch. After they were done at the bank, Amwaama approached them and asked if he could give them a lift to where they were going.

They agreed and got into the car and Amwaama allegedly drove for a short distance before picking up a man, who told them that he needed to get his keys at Uupindi location. To their surprise, the car did not stop at Uupindi but proceeded en route to Okahao.

The driver then stopped near a bridge at Othingo village and the man, whom the female passengers were made to believe was going to get keys, disembarked. He then started assaulting them, grabbed Kleopas’ bag and told them to get out of the car.

According to Ashipala, while she was fighting for Kleopas’ bag, Amwaama pointed a knife to her chest and instructed her to surrender the bag, which Ashipala did out of fear for her life. “When I took her to the hospital (Oshakati) the doctor said she broke her arm and sustained chest injuries,” she said.

Amwaama and his co-accused, known to this reporter only as Mambezi, who is still on the run, fled the scene with Kleopas’ bag, containing N$10,300 and their cell phones.

Community reaction

The community of Ekuku village staged a demonstration outside Oshakati Magistrates Court to object to bail for Amwaama. About 80 people, with most wearing black and white, held up posters bearing different messages, including “Murders, murders! Free us from their evil deeds; No bail to them; We cry for justice; Show respect to the 4th commandment; No bail to be granted! We reject criminals at all cost.”

The protesters said the late Kleopas was respected in her village and was helpful to everyone.

Also, objecting the bail application was Detective Constable Taapopi, who testified in court that Amwaama misrepresented himself when Taapopi arrested him on 8 October by giving false names and date of birth and alleged that the accused had a record of robbery cases, involving money stolen at Oshakati, Okahao, Karibib and Rehoboth.

“He told me that his name was Teofilus Absalom Iipinge, but when I got a copy of his ID at a later stage it indicated that his name is Absalom Amwaama. I don’t think he would stand his trial if he gets bail because he is dishonest and not serious,” he said when asked by Prosecutor Shuudeni Pallhus why he thought it was not the right decision to grant him bail.

According to the petition handed to Oshakati Magistrate Court on Monday by community members, the late Kleopas was robbed, assaulted and pushed to the ground after being dragged from the car and in the process her shoulder was dislocated and her arm had to be put into plaster of paris.

“(This) caused her physical and emotional pain, raised her high blood pressure, caused her immobility and deteriorated her health. It is so painful, shameful and unacceptable than an 82-year-old mother and grandmother can go through such trauma caused by a 20-plus-years young man… These cases are increasing every day and they are saddening and can no longer be tolerated.

“We are, therefore, first greatly opposing the granting of bail for Iipinge Absalom Teofilus.

“Secondly, we are also calling for the arrest of the other accused or suspect who is still on the run. We are requesting for a heavy, strong punishment to be handed to the accused persons… we lost our mother and grandmother.

“Thirdly, we are calling for the prosecutor to hand them life imprisonment for the crime that they have committed which caused her death. Finally, we are also calling for fair administration of justice. We are against the granting of bail for Iipinge Absalom Teofilus on the murder case of Kuku Sofia Kleopas,” the protesters said in the petition.

Amwaama said he wants to be released on bail as he has small children to look after and because he is on antiretroviral treatment. However, Kleopas’ daughters Sophia and Victoria felt insulted by Amwaama when he said he wanted to go and look after his children.

State witness Fillemon Shithigona (46) told court the charge should be changed from robbery to murder. “From our side, we think that this case is serious and should be changed to murder. Kuku Sophia was helpful to everyone in the community and now that she is dead the community will not get help.”

Magistrate Helena Ekandjo postponed the case to 9 December for further submissions. Amwaama meanwhile remains in custody.