KASIVI - Sofia Simuma Ndumba, who survived a deadly concoction allegedly administered anally by members of a church in rural Kavango West, gathered her strength to narrate a ghastly ordeal that saw three of her relatives die last week.
Ndumba was discharged from the Rundu Intermediate Hospital on Saturday after doctors declared her fit and stable to go home.
On top of the trauma of losing three family members at once, the family is now struggling to buy coffins for her late sister Robertha Ndumba, brother Evaristus and his wife Hilka Simbaranda.
“We went there for prayers and didn’t expect to have a bad experience,” she said when asked what they were doing at the Prophet of Victory Church at Mutengo village.
The 25-year-old Engelbrecht Hamutenya, the self-proclaimed pastor, and his assistant
36-year-old Elia Ihemba, appeared in the Kahenge court on Monday on three counts of murder, alternatively culpable homicide, as well as attempted murder each.
They were denied bail.
The 40-year-old woman was in tears as she narrated their ordeal.
“My young brother and his wife have visited the pastor before – and when he came back, he said those of you who don’t feel right should go for prayers – and along with my big sister, we agreed to go with them this time around,” she recounted.
Ndumba told New Era they arrived at the church on Monday evening and set up camp, but they did not find the pastor there.
They were told he had gone out to a village to escort some patients.
“When we got there, we found the pastor’s assistant, his wife and the pastor’s wife. The assistant phoned the pastor and told him that we have arrived, and the pastor instructed him that he should show us where we should erect our tents. We heard their conversation,” she narrated.
Ndumba said while they were with the assistant pastor that evening, someone kept calling him and he kept cancelling the call.
The third time he allegedly answered and went to speak in some nearby bushes for about two hours.
When he returned, he told them that the pastor said they should give him their payments so that he can buy the recipe for their medication early in the morning.
Collectively, they paid about N$4 600.
“In the morning, the assistant asked my brother if they could go together to Nkurenkuru to buy what he needed for our procedure. The car wouldn’t start. My brother told him the car wasn’t fine and then he went to hitch-hike, but the secretary didn’t appear happy, compared to when we arrived on Monday evening,” she noted.
“When he came back, we saw him with a packed backpack. He didn’t show us what he bought, and he went to a section where they brewed the concoction. While I was plaiting my sister’s hair, the secretary and his wife, with the pastor’s wife came to call us in one by one. My big sister Nangombe went in first, and they were there for more than an hour and we were wondering why it was taking so long.”
According to Ndumba, the area
where they conduct their procedure is enclosed with bushes, a little distance from the church.
“After a while, the pastor’s wife with the assistant pastor’s wife came out and took a five litre bucket, filled to the brim with the concoction, and they called me. I looked in the bucket, and it was dark purple – and the water was hot,” she said.
The concoction was a mixture of, among other things, vinegar, salt and methylated spirits.
“They took me in, and when I got there, I got my sister rolling on the sand, and I asked why she was reacting that way; the two women replied that she will be fine. My bucket was next to me, and I prayed to God. I don’t know what medication they were going to inject me with,” she shared tearfully.
Ndumba said while her sister was rolling on the ground, she had told the women not to use hot water on her sister, saying she has never experienced it before.
“She said they should wait for it to cool down before it is administered to me anally. The mixture was hot. The concoction appeared to have been boiled,” she said.
But the two women felt the mixture and said it was cool and at the level it is supposed to be; they undressed her, told her to kneel and they injected a pipe in her backside.
At this point, the woman claimed, they started pouring in the water through the pipe.
“I couldn’t see; it was dark but it was severely uncomfortable, and when I started struggling and screaming; they put me down and held me so tight that I couldn’t defend myself, while the other one kept injecting the concoction down the pipe inserted in me, saying we are all getting a five litre each, and we should finish it,” she said.
During the struggle, the pipe fell out of her, and they left her.
“I was bleeding through my nose, vomiting and the concoction was running out through the back. I screamed and got knocked out. When I woke up, it was dark, and I was still naked. I struggled to stand against some trees. I picked my clothes and struggled to put them on,” she added.
“I reached our tent and got [to] my big sister, thinking she was still alive, and I slept. Later, I was woken up and another patient came to pick me from the tent to the fire, and she told me the police were on their way.
“I asked why they are coming. She didn’t want to tell me, but I forced her, and she said my brother and his wife, along with my sister didn’t make it.”
The police arrived shortly, and they took the bodies.
They rushed her to Nkurenkuru health centre before transferring her to Nankudu hospital – and later the same night, to Rundu.
“At Rundu hospital, I was sent for X-rays and I was told my intestines were damaged, and I can’t eat solid food. I am taking liquids now,” she said.
- jmuyamba@ nepc.com.na