Namibia: City Centre Shooter Found Unfit for Trial

Namibia: City Centre Shooter Found Unfit for Trial

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The man accused of carrying out a fatal shooting in a Windhoek office building in January last year has a mental illness and is not fit to stand trial, two psychiatrists have concluded after examining him.

Simataa Simasiku has schizophrenia, psychiatrists Reinhardt Sieberhagen and Lahija Hamunjela both state in reports filed at the Windhoek High Court.

Based on the reports – and despite objections from Simasiku, who insists he is well and able to stand trial – judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday ordered that Simasiku should be detained in a mental institution or prison until the president authorises his release. The effect of the order is that Simasiku faces detention indefinitely if his condition does not improve, or until a state mental health panel is satisfied he has recovered sufficiently to be released and the president decides to accept a recommendation for his release.

Simasiku (35) was due to be prosecuted on charges of murder, attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a public place. All of the charges were based on a deadly shooting that took place at the offices of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where Simasiku had previously been employed, on 28 January 2019.

A senior former colleague of Simasiku, Sarah Mwilima (51), was killed in the shooting in the City Centre building in Windhoek, while another Global Fund employee, Ester Nepolo, was shot in the neck and seriously injured. Nepolo has been left paralysed, deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef informed the judge yesterday.

Simasiku fled the scene after the shooting and drove to a police station in the city later during the same day, to report the shooting and hand himself and his firearm and ammunition over to the police.

He has been in custody since then.

Dr Sieberhagen concluded that Simasiku is suffering from delusions in which he is totally taken up, with no awareness that he is ill. He diagnosed Simasiku as having schizophrenia of a paranoid type and being in urgent need of treatment.

“He considers himself to be mentally normal,” Sieberhagen stated. “His understanding of the wrongfulness of his deed is not entirely absent, but he has no concept of the gravity of what he has done.”

Dr Hamunjela also stated that during his time under psychiatric observation Simasiku believed an intelligence service was controlling his behaviour and thoughts, and that it had connected his heart to a remote control device.

Simasiku was mentally unstable at the time of the incident and this made him incapable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his actions, Hamunjela concluded.

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