Police Smash Gang of Youth

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By William J. Mbangula

Oshakati

The police in Oshakati have smashed a gang which has been molesting and harassing people in and around Elim constituency.

The group, which calls itself omushasho hoko and made up of more than 120 people, most youth, has been beating up local residents, breaking into shops, confiscating properties and insulting and abusing people.

This was revealed by the Police Regional Commander Deputy Commissioner Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa at a media briefing on Sunday.

The conference was called to address issues pertaining to criminal activities in the region and the police standpoint on certain accusations made against it through the media. Some nine suspects have been arrested and are due to appear in court tomorrow.

Reacting to the accusations made against the police by some individuals though SMS in The Namibian newspaper of 6 September, he said the person who made the allegations has lost touch with the situation on the ground.

He/she must be having a hidden agenda against the police or is not from Oshana Region.

The SMS message says: “Home Affairs, What is going on with my GRN? Crime rate in the North (Ongwediva and Oshakati) has been increasing rapidly. What is being done about it? Or is this a new culture in the North? I have witnessed people getting shot, stabbed, attacked with all sorts of weapons and in all these incidents I have never seen the police. Do they even exist? Does one have to buy a gun for protection? I am fed up. We can’t continue like this.”

Said Kashihakumwa: “The fact that the writer is referring to the Ministry of Home Affairs not knowing that the Department of Police was transferred to the Ministry of Safety and Security shows that such a person did not do his or her homework. The crime in Oshana Region is not escalating at all.

“I wish to advise the writer of the message and others with similar tendencies to consult first and address the issues through relevant authorities. No one wants to see crime but spreading rumours and untruths cannot be condoned.”

Kashihakumwa explained that since he assumed the command of the region on June 01, 2007, there has been one shooting incident reported which happened at Labino Club at Ongwediva but the person involved is alive.

Stabbing incidents were every isolated. Such incidents normally happen at shebeens and other informal drinking places, he said.

Kashihakumwa told the media that a car was impounded by the police after two suspects who were trying to rob a woman at an FNB ATM at Game Shopping Centre abandoned it.

The suspects ran away after the police was tipped off and in the process failed to drive away their car. One of them has been arrested while the other one who is known to the police is still at large.

Concerning progress regarding Pastor Gerhard Kgobetsi of the Fellowship Christian Church who was arrested recently for keeping under-aged children in his house against the wishes of the parents, the police chief said the matter is still under investigation.

In the meantime, five of the children who were kept at his house visited his office to tell him that they were still with their parents.

Kashihakumwa also briefed the media about the progress regarding an incident of alleged hijacking of a Netcargo Distribution Services truck a week ago at Ondangwa, which he said was faked by the drivers of the truck. The duo, Gerson Johannes van der Byl and his co-driver, were arrested and have already appeared in court.

Kashihakumwa noted: “I want to assure everybody that the incident of alleged hijacking of a truck did not happen. There is strong suspicion that the drivers of the truck were playing a game which has now backfired.”

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