Police in the Oshikoto Region have warned the public to refrain from posting photos of dead people on social media networks, as in many cases the victims’ closest relatives have not been notified.
Community affairs officer in the Oshikoto Region Chief Inspector Stephan Nuuyi said this warning comes in the wake of a South African man, who allegedly disappeared after someone called and told him over the phone that his closest relatives in South Africa had passed away.
Members of the public are also being cautioned to desist from conveying sensitive and shocking news whereby the people being informed about such news may end up extremely distressed or depressed.
Nuuyi noted that in the latest incident the man, whose identity is known to New Era, came with a job opportunity to Tsumeb where he was residing peacefully until recently, when someone called and told him that his wife and children had been involved in a fatal accident in South Africa.
The man then went missing for about four days, after which the police discovered him at Tsintsabis, about 54 kilometers from Tsumeb. The man has since been admitted to the Tsumeb hospital for treatment.
“We have found the man and he was in a terrible condition. In fact, we even found him naked. We want to warn members of the public from spreading messages that could create shock. There are people who are trained to convey messages of this kind,” he said.
Nuuyi said it was found upon further enquiry that the news given to the South African was untrue, as other members of his family were contacted in South Africa and they denied any knowledge of such events.
“It was not even true and this man almost lost his life. He was on foot and in a bad state without any clothes on when we found him. We must really use this story to warn members of the public,” the chief inspector said.
He emphasised that there are trained officials who can deal with situations where the next of kin have to be informed in the case of a death or tragedy and said it was uncalled for that some people took it upon themselves to convey such sensitive news in an unprofessional manner.
In an unrelated development, a case of attempted murder has been opened at the Omuthiya police station after a man shot his co-worker while apparently firing some warning shots.
According to Chief Inspector Stephan Nuuyi the 35-year-old suspect accidentally shot his co-worker in the right leg. The victim is currently receiving treatment at Omuthiya and his condition is said to be stable.
The suspect has been arrested and was expected to appear in court on Tuesday to face a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm.