AT LEAST fifteen Shoprite striking workers and members of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement were injured during a clash with the police yesterday afternoon at Oshakati.
Although details of what exactly transpired are slowly trickling in, both the AR and the police are pointing fingers at each other for the incident that ended with three people hospitalised after rubber bullets were fired by the Special Reserve Force.
Head of Public Relation Division, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, insists that the unruly behaviour of the crowd escalated, leaving the police with no option but to use necessary force to disperse the crowd.
She added that before yesterday afternoon’s confrontation between demonstrators and the police at Oshakati, the Shoprite demonstrations countrywide had been peaceful.
“It is alleged that members of AR were instigating workers and sympathisers to forcefully storm into the Shoprite store,” said Shikwambi.
Aino Mwatilandje, chairperson of AR Oshakati, however, rubbished the police’s claims that they were the provocateurs.
According to Mwatilandje, they were speaking to a certain Shindumbu who is heading the Operation Unit at the Oshakati police station when the incident occurred.
“The next thing we saw were members of the Reserved Force jumping out of their vehicles and a certain Itula with a rank of Chief inspector beating and shooting at us,” she said.
Mwatilandje indicated that some of the injured victims sustained leg injuries, while two men and a woman were left hospitalised after they incurred head and back injuries.
Among the victim was 28-year-old Mwadilandje Iindongo, one of the Shoprite striking worker, who is currently receiving treatment at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital after he was shot by police in the head.
Shikwambi says that while there are allegations that one person went to the police station to lodge a complaint, no case has yet been opened by any of the demonstrators.