The Namibian Police Unit Commander for Community Affairs in Erongo Region, Sergeant Iileni Shapumba, has warned coastal businesses and residents to be on high alert as thieves have now resorted to using industrial explosives, also known as expo jelly, during burglaries. The substance is highly dangerous and is believed to be smuggled from Zimbabwe.
Shapumba’s warning comes after a burglary in Katima Mulilo in which N$303 950 was stolen at the retailer Pep on Wednesday. The gel explosives were allegedly used to blow open the safe of the shop. Shapumba said several remains of the explosives were found on the scene and this resulted in Nampol sending out warnings to all police stations to alert business owners of this new trend.
According to a crime update received by New Era on Wednesday, the burglary was only discovered on Wednesday morning when staff reported for work.
“The suspects apparently cut through the roof and used what is known as gel explosives to blow open the safe and took off with cash and several mobile devices,” Shapumba said.
According to Shapumba, the identity of the suspects is not known yet, but the explosive gel used is believed to be of Zimbabwean origin.
“People should be on the lookout in their area for anyone with a large amount of money or people in possession of gel explosives and should immediately report such persons or suspicious activities to the police,” cautioned Shapumba.
Describing the explosive, Shapumba said it resembles a sausage or liver spread and is wrapped in a bright orange plastic cover. The gel itself is grey.
He added that it is also very difficult to distinguish the explosives but the ‘sausages’ are usually accompanied by green cables, which form the fuse to which the gel is attached.
Shapumba urged coastal residents to be very cautious should they detect any devices or products and to alert the police as soon as possible.
“This is a very dangerous new manner of burglars using industrial explosives. If not used under controlled circumstances these can easily kill the burglars or innocent bystanders.”