I was not punched – Commissioner Shikongo

By Confidente Reporter

THE Khomas regional commander of the Namibian Police, Commissioner Joseph Shikongo last week reiterated an earlier denial that he had been punched in the face by a member of the public while out on a Kalahari Operation patrol, as reported by Confidente last month.

Shikongo says the report was malicious and undermined his authority. “The story created fear in our citizens about their safety with the view that if I, as a regional commander am assaulted, what about them? People should not fear for their safety, because I was never assaulted.”

The top regional cop reiterated that he was never assaulted during the patrol on the night in question, clarifying that a scuffle caused by a 54-year-old man ensued when the latter refused to comply with police instructions.

He said the incident happened on October 26 at the Hakahana informal settlement around 02h00 in the morning when he and his team found a group of men drinking outside a closed bar.

“I approached them and asked why they were still drinking outside a closed bar at odd hours.  A majority of them apologized for their behaviour. One of them, a 54-year-old man interjected, asking us what was wrong with drinking at such an hour.

“We explained to him that it was in violation of the Liquor Act, which in part states that the sale and consumption of liquor shall be done on premises only. We then told them to disperse but the man continued interjecting,” Shikongo said.

He added that while other patrons did as they were told, the elderly man, clearly under the influence, continued to disregard police instructions to a point where the officers loaded him into a van and took him to Wanaheda police station.

Shikongo said although no case was lodged against the man, he was made aware of his actions when he was sober. He then apologized to the police in writing. In his statement, the man said he could recall being told to stop arguing with police officers and let them do their work, but that he continued to oppose the commander and his team.

“I did not know what came over me, I was under the influence of alcohol and so I was someone else. I remember, that night I was behaving differently. Police officers calmed me down and I sustained an injury on the eye and body. I ended up in handcuffs and I was taken to the Wanaheda police station.

“My behaviour was unbecoming. It was unacceptable and I wish to apologize for my behaviour. I assure my good cooperation now and in future,” the statement read.

Shikongo added there were many cases of provocation against officers on duty and that most such cases are handled professionally. He urged members of the public to be cooperative when law enforcement officers ask them to do something.

“If they want to ask a question, they should do that in a proper manner but not to assault members of the law enforcement in uniform. Our officers are under instruction to be very professional to the community and we are also requesting the community to be more professional when they are dealing with law enforcement officers. We will not spare any effort [to detain] somebody who is turning unruly and wants to fight the law enforcement. That will not be accepted,” he cautioned.