Police respond to brutality claims

by Maria Amakali

Police respond to brutality claims

Windhoek

Following reports of alleged police brutality at Otavi police station, the Namibian police have come forward to defend their integrity.

Reports of police brutality were brought to the fore by attorney Pombili Shipila, who is a legal representative of suspect Frans Ekandjo, who made the first claim of having been assaulted by police officers while in Otavi police custody this month.



The police have denied all allegations of police brutality levelled against the force by the suspects and their lawyers. In a press statement the Namibian police detailed the events surrounding the case.

According to the statement, a farm owner in Otavi district, together with police reservists, arrested two suspects, namely Erich Popas and Anton Gaoab, on the farm for illegal hunting. An exchange of gunfire between the suspects, the farmowner and police reservists occurred prior to the arrests of the two suspects.

A case of assault against the farmer and the police reservists was opened by the two suspects and in turn the farmowner opened a case against the two suspect for attempted murder and illegal hunting. Namibian police spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi said the two cases had nothing to do with the alleged assault of Ekandjo.

The police said Ekandjo was arrested for armed robbery in Otavi in 2014, where he filed a civil claim against the Ministry of Safety and Security for having been assaulted by his fellow inmates at the time. On November 4, 2016 another case of armed robbery was opened against Ekandjo.

Since those incidents the police had been in hot pursuit of the suspects until they were apprehended on November 5 in Otjiwarongo. According to the police, on November, 7 the three suspects were transferred to Otavi police station.

However, upon their detention none of them reported or complained of any injuries.
Ekandjo allegedly suffered an arm injury, which he reportedly inflicted on himself. He was offered medical support, but refused and only requested ointment to ease the swelling, which the police gave him. The police maintain that no police officer assaulted the said suspects. They have been arrested and will remain in custody until their court appearance on January, 11 2017.

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