Victim urged to lay charges

A man who was assaulted in a video that went viral on social media is yet to lay charges against Operation Kalahari Desert members.

13 January 2020 | Police

The Namibian police have urged a 33-year-old man who was assaulted by members of Operation Kalahari Desert to open a criminal case.

The incident came to the attention of the police after a video was circulated on social media last Thursday showing the man being manhandled and assaulted by members of the anti-crime operation.

Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi confirmed the authenticity of the video and said the incident occurred on 2 January at about 17:00 at Goreangab Dam.

“Efforts were made to locate the victim and after consultation it was noted that the victim did not lay any charges for reasons known to him. The victim was therefore encouraged to open a criminal case for investigation,” Shikwambi said.

The video shows the man standing at a vehicle while holding a beer, alongside two Namibian Defence Force (NDF) members and a police officer.

One of the NDF members then punches the man and while the victim is being pulled away in another direction, the police officer slaps him in the face.

The man, who then appears to put something in the car, picks up his beer bottle and the three Operation Kalahari Desert members take him to a nearby tree where one of the soldiers kick him to the ground.

The soldier proceeds to pick the man up by his legs and brings him to a kneeling position, while another soldier again slaps the man. Finally, the man gets up, puts on his shoes, which presumably fell off during the assault, and is taken away by the three Operation Kalahari Desert members.

The incident occurred in front of several members of the public, who can be seen in the video.

Last September a civilian was shot dead, allegedly by a member of the NDF, during an Operation Kalahari Desert mission, while there have also been several other reports of violence against the public by members of the anti-crime initiative.

President Hage Geingob defended the joint operation by the police and NDF last October, saying it will not be stopped any time soon, despite complaints of violence and the loss of civilian life.

Last June, a Zimbabwean taxi driver was also shot dead while attempting to flee from an Operation Kalahari Desert roadblock.

Geingob said the operation had yielded desirable results and that only criminals were complaining and criticising the heavy-handedness of members of the operation because they were being stopped from committing crimes.

Police chief Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, when launching the second phase of the operation, said all members went through a three-day intensive induction on the conduct, roles and rules they should follow when engaging with the public while executing their duties.

ELLANIE SMIT

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