The increase in farm attacks last year resulted in the new president of the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU), Ryno van der Merwe, accompanied by a delegation which included the chairperson of the Joint Crime Prevention Forum (JCPF), Frikkie Engels, paying a visit to the chief of the police, Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga last week.
Last year it was reported that commercial farms in Namibia were increasingly becoming the target of brutal farm attacks and murders.
Matters of grave concern for the NAU during last week’s high profile meeting included safety on farms, cellphone threats and animals in road reserves.
The police also expressed their concern about the increase in farm attacks and undertook to do everything in their power to see that this evil does not gain more momentum.
Cooperation with crime prevention forums however is of extreme importance. This cooperation is based on relationships and good communication between the various crime prevention forums and the police in the various regions.
The police will communicate the NAU’s concern to their regional and station commanders and will also encourage cooperation with civil organisations. Crime prevention and other similar civil organisations are encouraged to liaise with the various station commanders. Farmers are also encouraged to keep the telephone numbers of the various station commanders within reach to report any suspect persons and activities immediately to the police.
The police furthermore are aware of the cellphone threats which were received by some farmers and recommended that, if possible, farmers should try and get information about the caller(s) whereafter the conversation should be immediately ended. This information should be given to the police as soon as possible. Farmers should under no circumstances make any payments to any person or organisation. If the police come to farms to arrest somebody for alleged offences as already happened in the Outjo vicinity, the farmer has the right to insist on a certificate of appointment as well as the warrant of arrest by the police. If these cannot be given, the regional or station commander must immediately be notified of such an attempt of arrest. Farmers also have the right to legal representation and can insist upon it.
The police also promised closer cooperation with the Joint Crime Prevention Forum (JCPF) and undertook that the JCPF meetings in future will be attended by senior police officials. All crime prevention forums that are not yet part of the JCPF are encouraged to join and attend the meetings to discuss matters happening on regional level. The next JCPF meeting is on February 18 at 09:00 at the NAU boardroom, Windhoek.
Two days prior to the new year, the Otjiwarongo community was rocked by the attack on an elderly couple, their son and grandson who were severely assaulted. The son was shot several times. Hartwig Koehler, 50, died in hospital after the attack at the farm Doringkom located about 86 kilometres from Otjiwarongo on the road to Okahandja.