Onesi - Thousands of people have flocked to the Omusati Region out of curiosity to view a small piece of meteorite that landed in a mahangu field in the village of Oshika, in Onesi Constituency, yesterday morning.

The incident created fear and panic among villagers who suggested the 'strange object' had something to do with the recent commotion over the 12 South African aircraft that were released after days of grounding at Ondangwa Airport. The aircraft of South African origin were grounded for several days and then sent back to South Africa, because they had no permits to use Namibian airspace.

People who came from all over the five northern regions, including the Kunene Region, flocking to Oshika, expressed fears that the tourists may have had something to do with the 'strange' object that fell in the mahangu field of Andreas Kamafo Ningilenimo.

"Maybe those people who came here with so many aircraft are responsible for this. Maybe that object is poisonous, we are scared, we won't even want to get close to it. If it is not taken away, we will not cultivate near it," said Selma Shikongo.

A piece of meteorite, the of a size of a small ball or two human fists put together made such an impact that people within a radius of over 200km were able to hear the explosive impact, feel the resulting tremor and observe the blinding light that followed as it landed.

A local engineer suggested that the object needs to be analysed to determine its chemical composition. According to the engineer, meteorites are rocks from outer space, and are referred to as meteors before they hit the ground. Once they hit the ground, the objects that are made of metallic substances, are then referred to as meteorites.

"They burn because of the high velocity at which they travel, that is why they look like burned metal when they hit the ground," said the engineer who requested anonimity. The engineer further said meteors are very fast and heavy which justifies the explosive sound and vibration while still in the air and as they hit the ground.

Selma Shikongo, the wife of Ningilenimo, said the incident took place at around 4.30 yesterday morning when the family was still in bed. "First we saw a light through our bedroom window, which my husband brushed off, thinking that it was car passing by. We then heard a sizzling sound, then a loud bang. The children ran to me saying that something had fallen near the entrance of the house, and we should run away. While I was comforting the children, we saw another bluish light - and once more there was a sizzling sound, then everything went silent," Shikongo explained.

According to Shikongo, the family went out of the house later in the morning in search for what had fallen but they couldn't find it immediately. It was only after they returned from the homestead of their neighbours, that they noticed the object that looked like burned metal lying in their own mahangu field - just a few metres from their homestead. That is when they reported the incident to the police. People who flocked to the scene from as far as the Oshana and Ohangwena regions, also claimed to have seen the light, while some claim to have heard the loud bang and even felt tremors.

"It sounded like a bomb, but it was so difficult to figure out the direction," said one person from the Ohangwena Region. Another person from the Oshana Region claimed that he saw the bright light through his bedroom window, but it was very fleeting, in the early morning hours. Simon Shingulu Josef a petrol attendant from Okaxwakangamba, a village near Outapi, said he was getting ready for work at around 4 o'clock in the morning when he saw a bright light accompanied by a whistling sound followed by explosive vibrations.

"The light came from the east to the west and it looked so bright, like the light of day and it was accompanied by a sizzling sound. The roof of my room was vibrating and I heard a loud bang that felt like a bomb exploding. When I came to work, people from faraway places, including Angola, were asking what had happened in Namibia," said Josef. Louise Geldenhuys, who was one of the thousands of people who went to witness the 'fallen star' said he had suspected that the unknown object was either a meteorite or something that came from space.

"But I suggested to the police officer that they should guard it, it could be valuable" he said.