By Surihe Gaomas UIS Yesterday a team of forensic experts collected an unspecified quantity of calcium cyanide as well as potassium ferri cyanide at the Sunrise Club in Uis, where a trunkfull of the highly poisonous substance was recently allegedly stolen during a break-in. The Chief of the Forensic Laboratory Dr Paul Ludik confirmed to New Era at the scene that the quantity of these poisonous substances is not more than 10 kg but not less than seven kilograms. When this newspaper arrived at the scene yesterday, the club was cordoned off as police and forensic experts were sweeping for clues during the day. New Era was not allowed into the building but did follow the forensic experts to observe some of the poisonous substances that were found burnt at the back of the building. Dr Ludik confirmed that some of the chemicals were removed from inside the building, whilst others were scattered on the ground outside the premises. He also issued a warning to the community of Uis not to touch any strange looking plastic containers, white in colour with blue labels, but rather report to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. “People must not handle these substances, but report it to the police as it is very, very dangerous,” said Dr Ludik who spoke to this journalist while adorned in a protective gas mask. Meanwhile, scientists will continue to detoxicate the area as these substances could harm the Uis community. The search continues for clues in finding the missing chemical substances in the area. The police are still investigating and questioning people that might help them to verify the facts of the crime. The whole exercise started following articles in this paper after chemist Frans Madl sounded the alert over the theft of highly poisonous calcium cyanide from a safe in a large green trunk. Meanwhile, a sense of panic swept across the closely-knit 2 000 residents of the town, after they heard the story by word of mouth. However, the village town council as part of its social responsibility appealed to the public to remain calm as the situation is apparently under control. Personnel officer Deon Kavandje said this was the first time the town was experiencing something of this nature and said it could likely impact negatively on the town’s image. “The town council together with the police yesterday were going round to schools and the community to raise awareness about the matter and they should report to the relevant authorities anything suspicious,” explained Kavandje. Referring to the incident, the village town council said this is negligence on the part of Madl, who kept such toxic chemicals without the knowledge of the authorities at the town. “It’s really negligence on his part, why is he raising the issue now and the council is also very disappointed and concerned,” said Kavandje. The council will also look into the possibility of pressing a charge of negligence against the chemist. So far it has been ascertained that Madl owes the council a hefty amount of N$300 000 for basic services and for unlawfully removing sheets of corrugated iron from council property. The district crime coordinator for the Erongo Region, Detective Chief Inspector Sydney Philander could not be reached for comment.
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