Thieves Snatch Dangerous Machine


By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Barely a month after the theft of an extremely dangerous chemical compound cyanide at Uis, thieves at the settlement were at it again when they stole an X-ray fluorescent machine tube that could be harmful to humans. The radioactive instrument, usually used in hospitals and laboratories in X-ray departments, went missing from its storage place at the Sunrise Club at Uis. Owner of the club Franz Madl, in an interview revealed that on March 22 he discovered that the machine was dismantled and that the tube for the X-ray analysing machine was missing. Approximately 10 centimetres in diameter and a meter in length the tube, according to Madl, produces radioactive rays that could make a person sterile if put in the pocket. “The tube shouldn’t be out there and it is dangerous,” he told New Era. Police Constable at Uis, Zacharias Seibeb, did confirm that the matter was reported to the police on March 22, 2006. Detective and Chief Inspector at Walvis Bay, Sydney Philander, also confirmed that police are still searching for the alleged missing item but so far nothing could be found. “Police are still on the lookout and we have talked to the community about this but unfortunately no information has been received from the public’s side on this matter,” stated Philander. Further, people at the town of Uis and at large are urged to report any strange object to the police while police investigations are still ongoing. The X-ray fluorescent machine tube was apparently under storage in a black aluminium container and locked up in a safe place where the cyanide container was also stored. Meanwhile, the cyanide case has still not been finalised. The Ministry of Health and Social Services through its principal medical office at Walvis Bay in mid-February 2006 requested the removal of chemicals from the Uis laboratory and issued a license that allows one to keep such chemicals. The safe transportation and destruction of these chemicals and provision of a destruction certificate is another thing that the ministry requested. Yesterday, Madl responded to the letter sent by the ministry, providing a list of chemicals stored at his laboratory. He added that he would not mind these products being transported and destroyed as “they are taking up our space”. The reported missing cyanide was found four days after it was reported stolen but no arrests have been made so far.