‘Struggle kids’ testify at Ndatipo hearing

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Windhoek

Various members of the group of ‘struggle kids’ had their turn to testify in the inquest into the death of their colleague Frieda Ndatipo yesterday, before Judge Christi Liebenberg.

Each and every one of them had a different, but somehow similar, story to tell.

All denied they were the ones who provoked the police and said they were there as usual to sing their liberation songs to ‘remind Swapo that they are still there’.

They said that while they were gathered at the gate to the Swapo head offices the police arrived in numbers and unceremoniously started to search them for illegal weapons.

They all denied that they had sticks and plastic pipes with them and said that the ‘sticks’ they had was firewood they collected on their way to the Swapo headquarters.

According to them, it was something they did every time they went to the Swapo headquarters and when there they stashed the firewood against the far part of the fence.

On that specific day they had no sticks with them, the kids testified, and said that when they enquired as to why they were being searched the police started to spray them with pepper spray without warning.

According to the witnesses, the pepper spray caused them move away and while they were peacefully moving away from the gate the police started to shoot in the air.

One of the witnesses, Rabana Andjamba, told the court that she was one of the first to be sprayed and when she moved away she came across Ndatipo, who then took her by the hand and led her away from the scene.

According to her, thereafter they heard gunshots and Ndatipo told her that they must go to Hakahana service station.

While they were walking to the service station they came across Hilalia Nghinashindili, who gave her a jersey to wipe the pepper spray from her eyes.

Nghinashindili confirmed the evidence when she gave testimony.

As they walked, Andjamba said, she heard a gunshot and the next moment Ndatipo told her, ‘I am shot’ and sank on one knee and fell down on her stomach ‘with her one eye up’.

All the struggle kids who testified said they saw Ndatipo fall and when they wanted to help her the police pursued them, still shooting.

They said the police shot indiscriminately in their direction as they fled the scene.

Nghinashindili further told the court that at the start of the skirmish she heard a policeman in plain clothes say to his comrades, ‘Today I am going to kill somebody’, but she said she did not see him fire a shot.

Anna Toivo also said that while they were still at the gate singing their songs a police officer sprayed her with pepper spray, and while she was trying to get away she saw a plainclothes officer with a gun in hand as well as two uniformed cops, also with guns in their hands, moments after she heard the first shot.Judge Liebenberg postponed the matter to August 14 for arguments by the lawyers representing the different factions and ordered that they submit written submissions by August 7.

State Advocate Dominic Lisulo is leading the evidence while Norman Tjombe appears for journalists of The Namibian, Loini Shikale-Ambondo represents the family and Orben Sibeya the police.

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