AN alleged assault by soldiers patrolling in Henties Bay that was reported on various social media platforms was plunged into controversy after the main victim declined an offer from Commander of the Namibian Police in the Erongo Region, Commissioner Andreas Nelumbo, to take down his complaint in person while he was in the coastal town on Monday.
The incident occurred in Henties Bay where a man was allegedly roughly pulled from his vehicle and beaten with pieces of PVC pipe by soldiers on patrol to enforce the rules of the State of Emergency.
This incident follows several other incidents where people walking in the streets of especially informal settlements at the coast were put into the back of police and Namibian Defence Force vehicles over the weekend for not complying with the rules of the State of Emergency called by President Hage Geingob.
Commissioner Nelumbo said that the people that people who were put in the back of police vans were not arrested but taken to the nearest police station where they were educated about the rules and regulations of the State of Emergency before being sent home with a warning to stay at home.
“If people keep on insisting to crowd the streets the patrols will obviously react. If people do not cooperate they will be taken for education. What people don’t seem to realize is that the transgression of the rules of the State of Emergency can result in a fine of up to N$5 000 or even arrest. It is best if everyone just simply cooperate and comply with orders given by law enforcement patrols,” Commissioner Nelumbo said.
The Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant general Sebastian Ndeitunga, confirmed the incident in Henties Bay and said the victim did not accept an offer from Commissioner Nelumbo, to take down the complaint in person while he was in Henties Bay.
“From the reports it became clear that the victim and his wife had different versions of the event. The man reported he was harassed by the patrol and the woman said he was forced to do push-ups in the street while being beaten all over his body by several soldiers armed with pieces of PVC pipe,” the General said.
According to General Ndeitunga he received reports that the man was uncooperative and did not want to adhere to requests from the patrol to return home because both he and his wife were in the cab of their bakkie when only one person is allowed to leave home under the rules of the State of Emergency.
“If any person feels that he or she is being handled too harshly by the members of law enforcement patrols, they are free to open a case with the Namibian Police in order for these matters to be investigated in an expeditious manner,” General Ndeitunga said.
He said that if the help from a senior officer such as the Regional Commander is refused outright that the credibility of the complaint starts to come into serious doubt.