Taxi drivers

Police are investigating the deaths of two taxi drivers

Ohangwena Police are investigating the deaths of two taxi drivers on Saturday, after both went to the same cuca shop the day before.

The deaths have given rise to speculation that the taxi drivers may have been poisoned.

The deceased, who were close friends, are Hafeni Shuufeni (30) from Etunda Lomutako village and Johannes Hangobe (33) from Omakango village in Ohangwena region.

“We are currently awaiting the results of the autopsy which will reveal the cause of death. We cannot at this stage confirm that they died of poisoning without the results of the autopsies.

“We have heard of the allegations [of poisoning] and we know that people are afraid to visit cuca stores. They have a right to be careful and we cannot stop them from talking,” said Ohangwena Police Coordinating Deputy Commissioner of Criminal Investigations, Zacharias Amakali.

Hangobe is believed to have died at Engela Hospital where he was rushed to around 05:00 on Saturday morning, while Shuufeni is believed to have died at his home around 12:00 the same day.

Shuufeni’s mother, Fransina Shindume, described what happened the morning of her son’s death.

“When he woke up I noticed he wasn’t feeling well because he kept throwing up and he had no appetite.

“He stayed in his room for most of the morning because he was very weak and he kept saying his heart was hurting him,” Shindume said.

She says she tried several times to get him to go to the hospital, but he refused.

“I realized he had been vomiting since he had come home the night before. Later he had difficulty speaking. I went to prepare some soft porridge for him to eat and while I was cooking I I heard screaming and I ran to his room. He managed to tell me that he had gotten sick right after consuming beer in a cuca shop with a friend and that he died after that, ”explains Shindume.

Shindume strongly believes that his son was poisoned because he showed no signs of illness before.

“My son was doing very well, he was driving his taxi as always and cheerful until that fateful day.”

Meanwhile, cuca shop owners and kapana traders say their businesses have been hurt by the poisoning allegations.

“It’s been hard to get customers since the poisoning story came out last week. People are afraid to buy meat (kapana), traditional beer (oshikundu) and even general food like porridge on the market stalls because of these poisoning stories circulating that the Ohangwena people poison their customers in order to get rich,” says Onuuno kapana vendor Matai Shililifa.

Omafo’s Lydia Shalipo says it’s not the first time rumors of poisoning have surfaced.

“We have places we never go to in the area because of such things. Even if you report these things to the police, nothing is ever done. They’ll just say they’re investigating, but people are really dying. How can a person just go buy kapana, drink a beer or a traditional brew and the next thing you hear is that they are dead? »