WINDHOEK - Namibian police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga has called on Okakarara residents to lay complaints against the police, should they feel distressed by the police’s action on the commotion that resulted in the mass arrest of 39 members of the public over the weekend.
These members of the public found themselves in police custody after violence erupted between the public and the police in Okakarara on Saturday and Sunday.
Thirty-eight of the accused have since been released, as they could not directly be linked to the charges that arose from the disturbances.
“I want to inform members of the Okakarara town who feel aggrieved by any of the police action, that they are at liberty to lay their complaints to the Namibian police’s Internal Investigations Division in the region rather than taking the law into their own hands in order to avoid situations such as the one that happened,” said the chief of the Namibian police force.
According to Ndeitunga, the police in Okakarara were responding to reports of people fighting at bars and drinking alongside the road, when Sergeant Fredinand Muharukua got assaulted with a bottle on his head at a local shebeen.
A case of assaulting a police officer while executing his duties has been opened and the suspect is expected to appear in the Okakarara Magistrate’s Court.
As the operation continued to another shebeen, members of the public allegedly became unruly and violence erupted after which the police had to order the bar manager to close his establishment. “The bar manager complied, however, members of the public were against the closure demanding to know why the bar should close before the stipulated hours (closing time),” explained Ndeitunga.
The police officers then requested one gentleman, who was questioning the closing of the bar, to follow them to the station, which is a more conducive place to address his concern. When they left, the man drove behind the police vehicle but other members of the community who were at the bar followed the police to the police station demanding to see Muharukua, allegedly threatening to assault and kill him.
According to the police, the situation got out of hand in the charge office. Ndeitunga said initially, minimum force was used which consequently resulted in maximum force being used in order to subdue the unruly mob.
“The public must know that any disruption to peace cannot be condoned and therefore I strongly warn public members to desist from such unruly behaviours and encourage them to respect the rule of law at all times,” said Ndeitunga.
The Okakarara town was full of visitors who were in town for the “Ohamakari Battle” Red Flag Commemoration.