Cyanide Forensic Probe Ends

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By Surihe Gaomas UIS Scientists and police who have been probing the case of the lethal chemical, cyanide, completed their three-day intensive investigations over the weekend. Confirming this to New Era on Saturday, the head of Forensics in Windhoek Dr Paul Ludick said all the cyanide components that were inside and outside the cordoned Sunrise Club have been recovered, clearing away the potential danger of highly dangerous toxins that threatened the town’s whole population. “We have cleared the area of all toxic substance which is less than 10 kg. All that remains is now the police investigation,” said Dr Ludick. New Era recently reported that police units had to be sent to the town of Uis to attend to the case after the owner of the club reported the chemicals stolen. The investigation resulted in the discovery of between seven and 10 kg of calcium cyanide and potassium ferri cyanide. During the search for the toxins, Dr Ludick was assisted by Jaco Robberts. Some of the chemicals were removed from the building and found scattered and burnt at the back of the building. The 59-year-old owner of the Sunrise Club Franz Madl reported to the press last week that 10 kg of potassium cyanide were stolen from his broken safe inside Sunrise Club recently. In the meantime, an intense police probe continues under the jurisdiction of investigating officer on the ground James Cohen. Speaking to New Era over the weekend, District Crime Coordinator for the Erongo Region, Detective Chief Inspector Sydney Philander said the police view this case in a very serious light. Based on allegations made about the cyanide incident, the police are also investigating a case of housebreaking with the intent to steal. Philander said that he is satisfied with the investigation on the ground so far and was reliably informed by the forensics team that all the chemicals that were there have been recovered and can be accounted for. “There seems not to be a hazard and the situation is contained,” he said, adding that as for charges against Madl, “we are looking at relevant legislation in this regard first to see what kind of charges can be brought against him”. The inspector added that he found it rather strange that the incident of theft was not reported to the police first, but rather leaked to the press. “Should you have complaints of non-investigation, there are channels to follow. The Walvis Bay-based Detective Chief Inspector Philander concluded however that it would be premature to reveal a lot of information. “It is not an everyday case and we need to do our groundwork first before laying any charges,” added Philander. Meanwhile, mystery surrounds the whereabouts of the trunk that initially contained the cyanide allegedly stolen from the safe. However, New Era learnt from community members that a woman found a rectangular wooden case in the field while fetching firewood. It seems the woman unknowingly saved the town. According to some community members, two policemen came the next day and confiscated the closed case from the woman. However, when asked about this, Chief Inspector Philander said that he had not been informed about this and was “still looking for the trunk in which the chemicals were kept”.