'You slap, I slap you'

03 September 2020 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK

Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) boss Werner Januarie claims he was targeted by the police because of his previous criticism of President Hage Geingob, but admitted that when he was allegedly slapped and punched by an officer, he retaliated in kind.

“What can I do? You slap, I slap you back… you punch, I punch you back. What can I do? I am a man,” he said.

Narrating the story to Namibian Sun, the unionist said he was returning documents to a relative when the incident occurred in Dolam last Friday at about 17:00.

“I was taking back the documents of my brother-in-law. I was approached by police officers and asked why I did not have a mask on. I explained that my mask was in my pocket. They then said: ‘Oh, it’s this one that disrespects the president’.”

Januarie said a police officer slapped him and he retaliated by slapping the officer back.

He was allegedly punched thereafter, and he responded by punching the officer back.

When asked why he had assaulted the police officer, Januarie said police officers were not authorised to assault members of the public.

The scuffle resulted in Januarie being taken to the Katutura police station and thereafter to the Wanaheda police station.

He has, in the meantime, opened a case.

Assault denied

Police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi confirmed that Januarie had opened a case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm against the police and that the matter was under investigation.

According to her, Januarie had obstructed the police from exercising their duties.

“Mr Januarie was detained for defeating the course of justice and obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty and the second case is for contravention of regulations of the state of emergency,” she said.

“Consequently, he started alleging that the police assaulted him, which is refuted. That case is being investigated by the internal investigation directorate,” she added.

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