Three sergeants in the Namibian Police Force appeared in the Outapi court yesterday after they fatally shot and killed a passenger in a car in a police chase.
The incident happened last Thursday while the police were on a night-time crime prevention patrol in Outapi in Omusati Region.
According to Omusati Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Titus Shikongo, a team of crime prevention members were on routine patrol and during the operation they set up a roadblock along the Outapi-Ruacana and Outapi-Kapalelona roads.
A case of murder and attempted murder was registered against the three police officers and investigations continue.
“A metallic Blue Corolla approached the roadblock. It was halted by the police just for a routine search, but it failed to stop. The driver refused to stop and sped off. The police tried to pursue it and the driver was warned to stop, but he refused,” explained Shikongo.
Shikongo said despite the police firing warning shots, and with their sirens blaring, the driver ignored instructions to stop. He said the police tried their level best to overtake the car but the car then overtook the police vehicles and the police again gave chase.
“Then the vehicle branched off onto a dark road and the car got stuck in the mud in the pan. Some more shots were fired and one hit the driver in his right leg, injuring him. Upon inspection it was noted that one bullet went through the rear right of the car and another person inside the car was injured,” said the police regional head.
He said that all the injured persons were taken to Outapi hospital, where one passenger seated in the back seat was later pronounced dead and another was transferred to Oshakati for further treatment
The police officers were arrested last Thursday and appeared in the Outapi Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
The two males and one female were each granted bail of N$5,000. Shikongo expressed his personal regrets over what he termed an unfortunate incident.
The commissioner said it is a sensitive issue, both to the police members and the family of the deceased, which could have been avoided had the driver complied with the instructions of the police.
He said the vehicle was first stopped in the middle of town but the driver drove for about 20 kilometres refusing to stop.
“Our community members should understand that the officers are having sleepless nights trying to protect them by preventing crime, and to do so they have to set up roadblocks to search vehicles,” he said.
“They should by all means give their full cooperation to the officers of the law in execution of their duties to mitigate such unwanted matters. The vehicle did not have number plates and most vehicles used in armed robbery usually do not have number plates,” he added.