KEETMANSHOOP – On Wednesday the police at Keetmanshoop arrested five Somali nationals for illegal entry into Namibia through Noordoewer in the //Karas Region.
The illegal journey of Yussuf Huni (21), Adam Ismail Haris (29), Mohamoud Omar Bashir (29), Adbirisek Ali Osman (29) and Mohamed Abdi Isak (35) was halted on Wednesday afternoon outside Keetmanshoop. Station Commander of the Keetmanshoop Police Station, Inspector Kennedy Sikokwani believes the five suspects entered Namibia through Noordoewer. Noordoewer is a border post located about 300 kilometres south of Keetmanshoop.
“We suspect that they came through Noordoewer, because many people do not use the port of entry there, but make use of an unknown entry point over the Orange River. We also suspect that they took a lift with a truck just outside Noordoewer, because they had money and then they were dropped here in Keetmanshoop. It looks as if they were given directions by someone since they were dropped at the first junction going to the hospital. They then passed through the hospital yard and went through the Agra Auction Kraals and then they tried to bypass the road blocks by travelling through the bushes on their way to Windhoek,” said Sikokwani, who explained that police officers in the area noticed the men and monitored them until the arrest was made. The suspects were believed to be headed for Angola after fleeing from a refugee camp in South Africa, where they were apparently tortured. “Over the years all the Somalians that we have arrested were heading for Angola, because maybe life is better there. Last year we arrested three Somalians who were trafficked in the boot of a Citi Golf sedan. There is a certain guesthouse in [Windhoek] where they are accommodated and then someone assists them to continue their journey to Angola,” he explained.
He expressed concern at what appears to be the trafficking operations of a syndicate that involves Namibians and South Africans. “How do you explain a foreigner travelling through such a big country without getting caught?” asked the station commander. He called on Namibians to appreciate the importance of national security and to report suspicious activity to the police.
“Do not assume that everyone passing through is an innocent individual. Report all suspicious activity by foreigners,” pleaded Sikokwani. The Somali community in South Africa has on several occasions said that they are under constant threat by South Africans and not without reason, since Somalis living in South Africa have suffered severe xenophobic attacks over the last five years.
The African Centre for Migration and Society, a think tank, says 140 foreigners were killed and 250 seriously injured by stoning and torching in the country last year alone. This year Sheik Mohammed, Somalia’s president, called on his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to “act immediately” to arrest the culprits. Millions of asylum seekers and refugees from across the continent are living in South Africa, a situation that has angered South Africans, who are facing escalating poverty and unemployment.
Many countries have also grown increasingly suspicious of Somali nationals following the Westgate Mall terror attack in Kenya earlier this year.
According to various media reports the terrorists responsible for this attack, the Al-Shabaab militants were trained in Somalia. On the same day Keetmanshoop police also arrested a 31-year-old Namibian male with cannabis, while he tried to make his way through a roadblock.
By Jemima Beukes