The family of Festus Shikalepo Namalemo, a resident of Oluno in Oshana Region, are reeling in shock after police allegedly showed up at church a few minutes before burial and demanded back the corpse for a post-mortem examination.
It is alleged that while the family was busy in church with the service, uniformed police officers showed up and demanded the corpse back, saying the family was not allowed to bury a person before a post-mortem is conducted.
A shocked family member who preferred that his name not be mentioned said Namalemo was admitted to the Onandjokwe hospital on March 21 after he was found unconscious in his room with several injuries to the body.
He later died in hospital and his body spent four days in the hospital mortuary but no post-mortem was conducted.
The family claim that the police advised them to write a declaration stating that they wished to bury their relative without a post-moterm if that process was taking too long.
“We followed the advice from the professional police officers. The two families [maternal and paternal] of the 27-year-old deceased sat and agreed to write the declaration as were advised,” the relative said.
“But it is very astonishing for the same people to show up and just do that to us on the day of the burial.
“Imagine, some people travelled all the way from Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay for the burial and had to go back without the burial taking place. This is shocking, very disbelieving.”
The family said that they followed all the necessary procedures until they got the death certificate that was availed by the hospital officials but they were very shocked to walk out of the church without finishing what they had come for.
The relative added: “We did not steal the body out of the hospital. It was done correctly – if both the police and hospital officials know that it was wrong, why did they issue us with the death certificate and release the body?”
The family said that they did their part by not “rushing the police” to finish their work but all they can say is that they are not responsible for the next preparation.
“Our man has to be buried where we were supposed to bury him. The police have to deal with this. This is not on our side anymore,” said one relative.
According to the family, the post-mortem was still not yet done by yesterday as there were still several bodies queued up.
“The police don’t consider family feelings. We tried to convince them but they totally refused. They are so inconsiderate. Imagine, food was already prepared and the house (grave) of the deceased was prepared at the cemetery. How inconvenient is this?”questioned another family member.
The family further said that they spent their money to make all the arrangements but after everything was done the police just showed up to disappoint them.
Approached for comment the Oshana regional commander commissioner Rauha Amweele said she was not briefed about the incident but promised to give information to New Era today.