Close to 50 Namibians are serving time in foreign jails in places as far away as India and Brazil, as well as Angola and South Africa closer to home, for various crimes, including rape, robbery and drug trafficking.
Some are also detained for crimes of theft, fraud and illegal immigration.
The Namibian citizen with the longest sentence in a foreign jail was sentenced to 22 years for homicide in neighbouring Angola, while another is doing 12 years for rape in Cuando Cubango, Angola. He was sentenced in 2010.
According to information provided by police spokesperson Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi, 45 Namibian men and three women are currently detained in foreign prisons. Five are serving time in Brazil for drug trafficking and one in India, also for drug trafficking. Most are imprisoned in Angola.
In January a 50-year-old Namibian man was arrested in India after he allegedly arrived from New Delhi with 20 kg of ephedrine (tik) in Bengaluru.
Although the police could not confirm the number of Namibians currently held in South African jails, a number of drug-related cases have surfaced in recent months in which local women were acting as drug mules.
In one such case, a Namibian woman was arrested at Cape Town International Airport in June 2012 for alleged possession of 1,3 kg of cocaine.
Several others are believed to be in custody in South Africa on similar charges, but Shikwambi said they have no confirmation from Interpol regarding such detainees.
“One is reported to be in South Africa, but that has not yet been confirmed. Arrangements are underway to confirm that,” Shikwambi said.
New Era reported in December that a Namibia man was arrested with five uncut diamonds hidden in his underwear at Cape Town International Airport.
The suspect, Karl Christian Loibenbock, was initially denied bail when he appeared in Bellville Magistrate’s Court.
He was was about to leave for the United Kingdom when he was arrested while waiting in the international departure hall.