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Farmworkers get date for double-murder trial

The trial of two men accused of murdering a farming couple in the Gobabis district near the start of 2018 is set to start in the Windhoek High Court in December.

The two charged men, Bernadus Afrikaner (35) and Salathuel Unaeb (47), were informed during a court appearance before judge Naomi Shivute on Wednesday that their trial is scheduled to start on 4 December.

The trial is also scheduled to continue over a two-week period starting from 29 January next year.

Afrikaner and Unaeb are due to be prosecuted on two counts of murder and charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, arson, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, unlawful supply of a firearm and assault by threat.

They are accused of robbing and murdering farming couple Armin Riedel (68) and Brunhild Riedel (66) at the farm Grunfeld in the Gobabis district on 20 January 2018, and setting fire to the couple’s house after they had been killed.

The couple’s bodies were inside the house when it was destroyed by fire.

Salathuel Unaeb

Afrikaner and Unaeb, who were in the Riedels’ employ as farmworkers, were arrested seven months after the couple’s deaths.

The state is alleging that Afrikaner and Unaeb overpowered Brunhild Riedel outside her and her husband’s house and forced her back into the house on 20 January 2018. In the house, they allegedly killed her in an unknown manner.

Armin Riedel was also overpowered, and was killed in the house when he was shot, the state is alleging in its indictment.

It is also alleged that Afrikaner and Unaeb stole a pistol, knives, a cutlery set, clothing and bedding from the house before they set it alight.

The house and goods valued at about N$570 000 were destroyed in the ensuing fire.

A witness who saw part of the attack on the couple was threatened by the two men, who told him to keep quiet about what he had seen, the state is alleging as well.

According to the state, Afrikaner and Unaeb tried to sell the pistol stolen from the Riedels on the day they were murdered to someone at Gobabis nearly a month later, on 17 February 2018.

Afrikaner and Unaeb are both being held in custody.