City Police Allegedly Harass Job Seekers

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The City Police are investigating a case in which one of its employees allegedly shot a young man in the leg. Last week, four City Police members reportedly drove to an ’employment bureau’ (open space) situated in Hochland Park where they found close to fifteen young job seekers. According to Paulus Ipinge, one of the youths who was sitting under a shade erected for employment seekers, the police suddenly appeared from nowhere and demanded that they leave lest they beat or arrest them. “We asked them why they were chasing us and they threatened to beat us,” he narrated. The young men dispersed in all directions and members of the City Police ran after them. Without any provocation, allegedly, one police officer opened fire and shot one job seeker in his mid-20s in the leg. The injured young man was hospitalized in Katutura State Hospital last Saturday and his condition was described as stable. Others who were caught were apparently beaten while four were taken in by the police. Chief of City Police Abraham Kanime yesterday told New Era that “the public should know that this issue concerns us too. We are going into a fully-fledged investigation.” He added that the issue of policing has to be changed as currently the public perception is that the City Police is a state organ that is there to frustrate them. He said the police are there for society, adding that the police are there to enforce order irrespective. “We are fully investigating this matter and a case has been opened against this officer.” Since the establishment of the City Police last year March, there has been a public outcry about their members, the public saying that instead of doing community service, the police are harassing members of society. However, Kanime appealed to members of the public to help shape the city police into a community-oriented service provider that respects human dignity irrespective of what crime one might commit. Bitterly complaining, Ipinge said, “They grabbed some of my friends and stepped on their throats. The City Police should be done away with because they are just harassing people.” However, one member of the police who was involved in the operation alleged that the job seekers used abusive language and that resulted in the law enforcers reacting the way they did. Other job seekers who later returned to the spot where they normally look for jobs strongly condemned the shooting incident. They said the City of Windhoek erected shades to protect the job hunters from the scorching sun during summer but considering that they are competing among themselves for temporal work, circumstances force them to rather sit near the traffic lights where drivers are likely to stop to offer them jobs. “We are all hungry for employment. Some of us walk all the way from Katutura to here (Hochland Park) because it is likely for one to get hired here because in Katutura, there are many people also looking for jobs. “

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