… Says child kidnapping rumour wasted scarce police resources
By Confidente Reporter
NAMPOL Inspector-Gene r a l , Sebastian Ndeitunga,has been left fuming by a rumour about a child kidnapper in Katutura’s Okuryangava area, saying that the “false alarm” cost the police “multiple thousands of dollars” and that those guilty of spreading such fake allegations, especially on social media, can be prosecuted.
The incident happened last Thursday,when Joshua Ihuhua was accused of kidnapping and trafficking minors, as well as keeping body parts in refrigerators.
The malicious rumour was proved not to be true, after the police established that Ihuhua had chased after boys, who had thrown stones onto his roof, in a bid to question them and alert their parents.
However, a mob surrounded his house, threatening to mete out justice.
Members of the Nampol Special Field Force, a police helicopter, as well as a large mass of police officers rushed to the scene.
Speaking to Confidente this week, Ndeitunga said that the incident was unfortunate and should not be repeated.
“Multiple thousands of dollars and a lot of other resources went into dispelling malicious rumours. It seems people had accepted the rumour without proof. The police tried to explain, but people were already poisoned by those that had spread the rumour first,” Ndeitunga said.
The police chief stressed that spreading such rumours is a punishable crime, and those who engage in such activities can be prosecuted, by law.
“We cannot waste the scarce resources at our disposal. We had dispatched about four teams, comprising of four members each, to verify the allegations, but onlookers accused the police of having been bribed. It was an unfortunate incident that should not repeat itself. We had to use resources to protect one person and his property. People should stop spreading rumours. People can be fined and sentenced, or both, for such a crime,” Ndeitunga said.
He also used the platform to warn fake churches and traditional witchdoctors that spreading rumours will be uprooted from society.
“We have to root out such institutions that cause confusion.”
In a media statement released shortly after the incident last Friday, the police said that there had been unfounded rumours of children being kidnapped, killed and/or trafficked to other regions, which was spread through the NBC Otjiherero Service, as well as on social media.
“These rumours are indeed false, unfounded and with no basis and caused unnecessary public panic,” the statement said. An investigation had been conducted and it was found that there was no single iota of truth in what was being spread.
“The Namibian police will leave no stone unturned until it established were the rumour originated from,” the statement added.
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