By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THIRTY-FOUR Nampol officers are currently facing murder charges while 84 are facing attempted murder charges. The cases were opened between 2010 and 2016.
Statistics released by Nampol head of Internal Investigative Unit Commissioner Christoph Nakanyala on Wednesday last week show that about 118 shooting incidents involving police officers were recorded since 2010 of which 34 were murder cases.
Safety and Security Minister Charles Namoloh refused to comment on the matter saying he was yet to see the statistics’ report.
“Thirty-four is a huge number but I need to see what circumstances in which they (members of the public) were killed then we can talk,” he said.
Nakanyala says 84 cases of attempted murder were opened against members of the police force between 2010 to date of which 65 are on the court roll, 10 are at the Prosecutor General’s Office for decision, five were withdrawn whilst three are still under investigation.
“There are those who were convicted and their prosecutions are still ongoing, but about how many were convicted I have no figures with me here”.
He said now that Nampol has realised that police brutality has spiralled out of control, the department has introduced outreach programmes aimed at educating its members on issues of human rights, code of conduct and general discipline of the force.
Although he did not reveal which region recorded the highest number, nor could he say the ranks of police officers involved in criminal activities, Nakanyala added that IID was busy formulating a new programme to further educate members of the force and where possible explain issues of complaints to the public.
“Members … after the finalisation of their cases will also be put through internal proceedings to determine their suitability to be in the force,” he said. Nampol’s annual report for 2014/15 financial year released in May revealed that 1 464 criminal cases were opened against police officers.
Although the report did not indicate the nature of the offences committed by police officers who are currently caught between duty and the law, police say they range from minor cases such as negligent driving to more serious ones such as assault, unreasonable use of firearms on unarmed civilians.
It is now two years after Namwaapo Israel (27) was allegedly killed by members of Serious Crimes Unit in Katutura’s Goreangab area in July 2014.
The police claimed that they had been investigating Namwaapo, and when they found him, a shootout occurred when Namwaapo allegedly opened fire on the officers. The police claimed that a firearm was found next to his body.
The police version has however been contested by Namwaapo’s cousin Shivute Robert who says Namwaapo who was socialising at Pombili Bar ran away when he saw the police officers, and did not open fire on them.
“As the family we want to know why Israel was killed…” said Robert in a telephonic interview.
Claims were made that the deceased did not have a gun on him, and that the police allegedly planted a firearm next to his body to shift the blame to him.
Among those who have been gunned down by Nampol which has been dubbed by many as a killing machinery is liberation struggle kid Frieda Ndatipo (26) who was killed on August 27 2014 during a scuffle between a group of struggle kids and law-enforcement officers, near the Swapo head office in Katutura.
Martha Ilonga a student nurse was reportedly killed by police officers in a botched sting operation at Goreangab informal settlement in February last year. Ilonga was shot while seated in a sedan that was taking her home. A single gunshot fired through the rear windscreen struck Ilonga in the head and she died later in hospital. The case remains uncompleted.
Police claim they fired warning shots and pursued the getaway car before firing the second shot that fatally wounded Ilonga, but it was disputed by eyewitnesses who said only a single shot was fired and there was no chase because in front was a four-way stop jam-packed with traffic since it was knockoff time.
On February 7 2011 Matthew Shipanga an employee of National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) was shot dead by police officers. Nampol declared that Shipanga was shot in the back and killed after jumping a temporary police roadblock between Rocky Crest and Otjomuise. However, the car in which Shipanga was shot had a single bullet hole in the rear end and more than two holes in the driver’s seat. According to the autopsy, Shipanga had two bullet holes on the right side of his chest, fuelling speculation that he was shot at point-blank range through an open right-front window.
In April 2013, Mandela Ramakuthla died from his injuries after he was severely assaulted by three City police officers. He was arrested in connection with a theft. The officers are Elia Nakale, Willem Johannes and Kleofas Kapalanga. They were all released on N$3 000 bail each after appearing in court on assault charges.
There have been a number of incidents where members of the Namibian Police have reportedly used brutal force on citizens leading to fatalities, including the death of a struggle kid protestor Titus Mweshinga Iita (31) who died after sustaining internal injuries inflicted during a police raid.
Another incident occurred on August 10 2013, when a Namibia police officer shot and killed a 22-year-old Katutura resident, Martin Joel Fiindje.
It is reported that Fiindje and three friends were walking down the street when a NamPol car honked at them to make way. He allegedly shouted at the police officer who seemingly felt offended and reversed the car to confront the unarmed young man with a weapon.
Last month the leader of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Jeremiah Nambinga condemned police brutalities comparing them to the South Africa apartheid government.
“It is a worrisome and great concern to hear and read in the print media that either the members of the Namibian Police or the City Police are reported of perpetual brutality against Namibian citizens.
“I know that every Namibian would appreciate the swift arrest of any citizen suspected of having committed a crime. We would all want to see these suspects brought to book so that the law could take its course. However, we do not want to be reminded of the then South Africa apartheid’s brutality to which our people were subjected to. We certainly cannot afford to lose the lives of our people in a free and independent Namibia at the hands of Namibian Police and the City Police members.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015