Kalahari Desert op starts today

10 May 2019 | Crime

Today, the controversy stricken crime prevention exercise Operation Hornkranz will end and be replaced with a similar crime prevention operation dubbed Kalahari Desert.

During the announcement on Tuesday, the inspector-general of the police, Sebastian Ndeitunga, urged Namibians to cooperate with law enforcement officers under Operation Kalahari Desert, which he confirmed has the same objective as Hornkranz, namely crime prevention.

As with Hornkranz, the operation will be police-led and reinforced with defence force soldiers, municipal police and correctional services members.

“As we embark on the new operation, lawlessness, undermining of authority, obstructing officers in the execution of their duties, unruly and any other unbecoming behaviour will not be tolerated,” Ndeitunga warned.

He urged communities to work with law enforcement officers executing their duties and said these crime prevention operations are “very pertinent to their safety and security”. Ndeitunga added that “society ought to appreciate the efforts being made by law enforcement agencies to ensure that law and order, and safety and security prevail in our suburbs and the country as a whole.”

In the same vein, he cautioned the teams working under Operation Kalahari Desert to “refrain from the use of unnecessary force and violence during any operations, because it is against the law and standard operating procedures”. He said all “security related matters must be solved amicably, without recourse to violence.

Minimum force must only be applied lawfully,” Ndeitunga stressed, and only “if and when necessary, particularly in order to subdue uncooperative suspects.”

Success versus complaints

While Operation Hornkranz was criticised from its onset, primarily for the name chosen, criticism against the use of excessive force used by soldiers and police members during late night raids dominated headlines in recent weeks.

Ndeitunga on Tuesday said the successes achieved in April alone, during phase two of Operation Hornkranz justify “the need for such or similar operations to continue”.

In April, 599 suspects were arrested for various offences, ranging from murder to shoplifting, Ndeitunga said.

Operation Hornkranz officers confiscated six elephant tusks and arrested one Namibian male in connection with the poaching incident as well as recovered two rhino horns valued at N$1 million during April.

A total of 479 dangerous objects were confiscated, including pistols and shotguns.

Illicit drugs worth more than N$2.6 million were seized in April, and illicit cigarettes valued at more than N$60 000 confiscated.

Operation Hornkranz law enforcement officers also helped recover stolen livestock valued at more than N$211 000, and recovered the carcasses of stolen cattle as well as game valued at more than N$70 000. A number of counterfeit goods, including alcohol, foodstuffs, phone accessories and clothing were seized valued at more than N$330 000.

JANA-MARI SMITH