Tribal Clash Leads to Death

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Aminuis All hell broke loose Friday night in Onderombapa – a small settlement in the Aminuis constituency – after the community decided to attack a traditional councillor and his followers who were planning to officially open an office and hoist the red flag. More than 500 Aminuis community members attacked the traditional councillor Ewald Kazongominja and about 50 of his followers, but the timely intervention of the Namibian police minimized casualties. However, the confron-tation left a 25-year-old man Theboy Hiiho dead. Tension started mounting already on Friday morning after the community learned that Kazongominja had arrived on Thursday evening and was planning to have a ceremony on Saturday morning. The community members gathered in Onderombapa and set up a barrier on the road from Gobabis to prevent Kazongominja and his delegation, which included Chief Maharero, from coming to Onderombapa. The community succeeded and the delegation decided to go back to Gobabis. However, on their way to Gobabis the delegation met with the police who escorted them back to Onderombapa. Despite the delegation being under police protection, the angry community members continued to throw stones at Kazongominja and his followers and also pulled down a tent that was meant for the ceremony. The tension reached its climax on Friday evening when young men from the community stormed the delegation with three cars. The young man Hiiho got out of a car and approached the delegation and the police. According to the operations commander in Omaheke, Chief Inspector Pax Mwanawina, the deceased was advised by the police to go back to his car. Mwanawina said as soon as Hihoo turned around to go back to his car, a shot came from the direction of the same car and hit him in the chest, felling him to the ground. Mwanawina said there was a brief exchange of fire between the police and the community members but most of the shots from the police were fired into the air as warnings. He added that the shot proved to be fatal and Hihoo was declared dead upon arrival at the Onderombapa clinic. The situation calmed down afterwards but reinforcements were called and members of the Special Field Force were dispatched to Onderombapa on Saturday morning. The Aminuis Regional Councillor, Erwin Uanguta, was called upon to mediate between the two groups. The community members were threatening that they would not allow the ceremony to continue, while Kazongominja and his followers persisted. However, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila who was briefed by Bob Kandetu about the situation instructed Kazongominja and his delegation to postpone the function. She also requested them to meet her today together with Chief Maharero. Although some of Kazongominja’s followers were reluctant to accept the instruction from Amathila claiming that she had not been briefed properly, they agreed to postpone the ceremony, as the police would not allow them to continue under the tense situation. Aron Kaevarua from the Kavari Traditional Authority, under which most of the Aminuis community resorts, said the community of Aminuis is not happy with the appointment of the traditional councillor. Kaevarua said most of the followers of Kazongominja are not even from the Aminuis constituency but from Otjinene and other constituencies. Kazongominja in fact had less than 20 people from Aminuis at the ceremony and Kaevarua said it was clear evidence that the community does not want him. “I understand he has been appointed under the Maharero Royal House – why does he not set up his office in Otjinene where Maharero comes from?” He added that the Kavari Traditional Authority even wrote a letter to the line minister who informed them that he could not cancel the event because it was not a government function. Kaevarua said his traditional council was also not happy with the treatment from the police. He alleged that the police said if Aminuis wants to behave like the Caprivi Region, they would call in the army to wipe them out in two hours. Kaevarua further noted that the police had yet to inform them on who shot Hiiho and that they believed the shot came from the police and not the community. “The government cannot impose councillors on people and then threaten to wipe them out if they do not want the person.” Although nobody could explain why they do not want the councillor it is believed that Kazongominja is a DTA supporter and Aminuis being a NUDO stronghold, the community is not prepared to accept him. No arrest had been made in connection with the shooting at the time of going to press. However, a police officer at the scene said they were still looking for the bullet that killed Hiiho and only when they found the bullet would it be possible to determine what type of gun the fatal shot came from.