More cops describe struggle kids as aggressive

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Windhoek

Police officers yesterday continued to describe the behaviour of the so-called children of the liberation struggle as aggressive, in their testimonies in the inquest into the death of struggle kid Frieda Ndatipo.

Cop after cop informed Judge Christi Liebenberg who is presiding over the inquest in the Windhoek High Court that the struggle kids were the ones who instigated the violence that ensued after they were removed from the area in front of the gates of the Swapo head offices in Katutura on August 27 last year.

According to Constable Maveerepez Hepute, who was one of the first people on the scene, when he arrived he saw at least 60 struggle kids blocking the entrance to the Swapo HQ and preventing people from either entering or leaving.

He said some of them were armed with sticks about 7cm to 8cm thick and more than 1m long. Others had stones and at least one had a spear.

When trying to reason with the struggle kids to leave the premises voluntarily they refused, he said, adding that they then threatened the police with words to the effect, ‘Today you will see what we will do to you.’ He further said that the struggle kids also used vulgar language.

It was then that they were ordered to move the struggle kids away from the gate and it was while they were pushing them that they were pelted with stones.

During the skirmish he saw a male person drawing what looked like a firearm and point it at the police.

While Hepute could not confirm that it was the person he saw that fired the first shot, he did say that the first shot came from the side of the struggle kids and that was when Inspector Klazen also fired a shot from the side of the gate. After that the other officers fired shots with their firearms causing the struggle kids to scatter in all directions.

That’s when he heard a woman say in Oshiwambo, ‘Nda ya shwa (I am shot)’, but he could not verify from where the voice came.

The scene then became chaotic, Hepute said. Constable Mathias Kapindi then took the stand and told the court that he was injured shortly after the skirmish started.

He however was adamant that the first gunshot was fired by the struggle kids.

According to him the situation became uncontrollable after the struggle kids became aggressive while the police tried to persuade them to move to the other side of the road.

City Police officer Thomas Shilumbu testified that he arrived on the scene after the situation had already turned ugly.

While he managed to confiscate some of the sticks and a traditional knife from some of the struggle kids, he had to duck behind the shields of NamPol officers when they started throwing stones at the police.

According to him it was after the group started throwing stones at the police that he heard the first gunshot, but he too could not verify where it came from. The case continues today at 14h00.

State Advocate Dominic Lusilo represents the State and the family of the late Ndatipo is represented by Loini Shikale-Ambondo together with Orben Sibeya.

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