Query: New Era newspaper article of November 21, 2016, titled: Police brutality unfolds at Otavi holding cells. The Namibian Police Force has taken note of the averment contained in the New Era newspaper of 21 November 2016 under the heading “Police brutality unfolds at Otavi holding cells” and thus we would like to set the record straight, in as far as Frans Ekandjo and the reservists are concerned.
Response: On 05 November 2016 at a farm in the Otavi District, a farm owner together with police reservists allegedly arrested two suspects on the farm for illegal hunting; it is further alleged that there was an exchange of fire between the suspects, the farm owner and the reservists prior to the arrest of the two suspects. The suspects opened cases of Assault GBH against the farmer and the reservists, Cr 82/11/2016 and Cr 83/11/ 2016. The farmer in turn opened a case of illegal hunting Cr 5/11/2016 and Cr 106/11/2016 for Attempted Murder against the two suspects. These cases had nothing to do with the alleged assault of Frans Ekandjo; there must have been a mix-up. In 2014, Frans Ekandjo was arrested for Armed Robbery in Otavi, Cr 14/07/2016 and during this time he alleged that he was assaulted by the police while in police custody. The police did not assault him but he was rather assaulted by fellow inmates for which he filed a civil claim against the Ministry of Safety and Security, claim number 3/3/4 (79/2015).
On 04 November 2016 at Farm Lejte which is situated 65km on the Otavi/Outjo gravel road, a farm owner was seriously assaulted and robbed of valuables worth N$85 200 at gunpoint. A case of Armed Robbery was registered with the police as per Otavi Cr 07/11/2016.
Since that incident, the police were in pursuit of the suspects until they successfully apprehended three suspects of whom one is Frans Ekandjo, on 05 November 2016 in Otjiwarongo. On 07 November 2016, the three suspects were transferred to Otavi Police Station and upon detention they reported no complaint or injuries, in exception of suspect Frans Ekandjo who during the fingerprint taking process confessed that he had an arm injury which he inflicted on himself on 31 October 2016 while constructing his toilet at home. Offered to be taken to hospital, Ekandjo vehemently refused medical attention and only requested an ointment to ease the swelling, which was provided to him.
Ultimately, the suspects were procedurally booked in and detained in the police cells without any complaint or injury as per the Otavi Occurrence Book (OB) 1010/2011, until their first court appearance.
The Namibian Police Force, therefore, denies as untrue the malicious allegations of brutality levelled against the Namibian Police Force by the suspect and his representatives. However, one can notice a trend of Frans Ekandjo being arrested in connection with Armed Robberies and the laying of complaints of assault. All four suspects are now arrested and remanded in custody until their next court appearance on 11 January 2016.
• Deputy Commissioner. E. I. Kanguatjivi: Head of Public Relations Division, Nampol, Ministry of Safety and Security, Contact Number, 061-209 3286/3470.