NAU worried about increase in farm attacks

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Windhoek

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says they are deeply concerned about the seven farm attacks that took place this year, in which three farmers were killed.

NAU president Derek Wright said the murder of Peter Jakob of Grootfontein over past week and that Gerald Leitner of Hockfeld indicate an increase in violence against farmers in the rural areas.

He said the recent murder of tour guide Andre Maier in the Zambezi Region, as well as the attack on a lodge in the Omaruru district earlier this month, are indications that farms and rural areas are becoming targets for criminals.

“The NAU bemoans this situation and urgently appeals to the government and especially the police to acknowledge the safety of people in the rural areas, and specifically the protection of farms, as a priority.

“The NAU appeals to government and the police to immediately do everything in their power and to use all means at their disposal to prevent the situation from escalating,” Wright said.

He appealed to farmers to consider their own safety as a priority, to be aware at all times of criminals operating in their vicinity and to report such criminal activities to the police immediately.

Nampol spokesperson Inspector Slogan Matheus said a neighbouring farmer to Leitner reported to the police on the morning of July 22 that there was an attempted break-in at the house on Leitner’s farm. “We sent three police officers to Dornfeld Farm in the vicinity of Okahandja, who went to investigate. The police officers spoke to Leitner and he showed them where the intruders had cut a hole in the fence to gain entrance to his premises. He (Leitner) said he saw their shadows and fired two warning shots and that the intruders fled the scene,” Matheus said.

He mentioned that when the police asked Leitner to open a case he declined, because nothing was stolen. “Police gave him the number of the Criminal Investigative Unit in Okahandja so that, should he notice anything suspicious, he should call the police.”

Matheus added that they suspect Leitner – who owned a jewellery shop in Windhoek – was killed between the hours of 19h00 on July 24 and 07h00 on July 25. Leitner suffered one fatal gunshot wound to the chest. The police said he was last seen alive around 19h00 on the night of July 24. His lifeless body was discovered on the morning on July 25 by some of his workers who had gone to look for him at his house on Saturday morning.

Matheus further said a number of local people alleged that the same people who had attacked Leitner two days earlier were responsible for killing him.

“We can’t confirm with certainty that it was the same suspects who attacked the deceased earlier who killed him”, he said, adding that the suspects took the deceased’s pistol and N$3,500 he had been given by his son while he was in Windhoek on Friday.

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