Operation Kalahari victim to sue state

By Paulina Ndalikokule

OUTSPOKEN human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe says he will personally assist the man assaulted by police and army officials taking part in Operation Kalahari Desert and will approach the High Court for an order to compel the powers-that-be to take disciplinary action against the officers involved.

This comes after video footage surfaced on social media this week, showing 33-year-old Johannes Nduwe being attacked by members of the purported crime-fighting operation at Goreangab Dam recently.

“After the video made rounds on social media and I offered to assist, the victim Johannes Nduwe contacted me for legal assistance, Tjombe said.

“We will immediately institute legal action for monetary compensation, and demand that both the NDF and Nampol take disciplinary action against their respective members. If they do not do so within one month, our client will approach the High Court for an order to compel that disciplinary action be taken against the culprits,” Tjombe said.

Nduwe told Confidente that he will open a case against the officers after he suffered a cut to his head, bruises and lacerations on his face and body. Namibian Police deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi encouraged Nduwe to file a criminal case against members involved in the operation.

“I had hip replacements on both my legs back in 2013, now they made it worse that I am enduring severe pain at his hips following the attack. I also suffer from constant headaches from being kicked on the head,” Nduwe said.

The 33-year old victim attended to his wounds himself after finding Katutura hospital understaffed later that day. “The hospital was packed that day and it was getting late, so I decided to buy my medicine at the pharmacy and attend to my wounds with the help of my relatives,” Nduwe said.

He said it was really bad that the soldiers decided to attack him without him having committed any crime and encouraged them to stop attacking innocent citizens.

“I just started my car engine three times and then they started chasing me, saying that I am threatening them. One police [officer] and two NDF guys decided to beat me and kick from my place in Goreangab until Greenwell where six or eight other members joined beating me,” he recalled.

Last September a civilian was reportedly shot dead on the street in Katutura by a member of the NDF during an Operation Kalahari Desert, for reasons that are as yet unknown. It was reported that the person had been filming the officers in action, but tried to run away when confronted. He was reportedly shot in the back, in what appears to be an operation run amuck.

There have been several reports of violence against the public by members of the anti-crime initiative. At least one soldier is on trial for murder after a Zimbabwean taxi driver was also shot dead last June while attempting to avoid a roadblock manned by army personnel and police.