Hornkranz lawsuit dismissed with costs

23 December 2021 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITH



WINDHOEK

A Namibian civilian has to fork out all legal costs accrued by the government and army after a High Court judge dismissed his N$1 million lawsuit this month in which he claimed he was assaulted by Operation Hornkranz soldiers three years ago.

Judge Orben Sibeya earlier this month found that while Taleni Petrus Manja proved he was assaulted on 31 December 2018, he failed to prove the identity of his assailants.

“This court has found that the plaintiff was assaulted,” Sibeya said, but added that he failed to offer credible evidence that soldiers were the perpetrators.

The judge said the court accepted that the version of events as described by the defendants - who denied an assault took place as they were not in the vicinity of the attack on the night in question - was “probably true” and rejected that of the plaintiff as being “highly improbable and unreliable”.

Manja claimed that he was “forcefully pulled out of a stationary motor vehicle in an aggressive manner” by soldiers at a four-way stop in Babylon on New Year's Eve.

He accused the armed soldiers of kicking him and threatening to kill him.

Success

Meanwhile, Confidence Kubukeli and Edith Mbanga, the guardians of two minors who were unlawfully assaulted and arrested by armed forces during Operation Kalahari Desert for recording an assault by police and soldiers in January 2020 in Katutura, reached a successful settlement with government this month.

The settlement agreement stipulated a payment of N$20 000 to Kubukeli, and N$15 000 to Mbanga, the minors’ mother and grandmother respectively.

The defendants also agreed to pay the legal costs.

The duo sued government in March 2020 for a combined total of N$545 000 with the pro-bono help of human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe.

Their lawsuit said as a result of the assault, the minors “suffered severe injuries on their respective bodies, including lacerations and bruises, feared for their safety and felt humiliated, traumatised and degraded”.

They were also kept in custody for around eight hours before they were released.

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