POLICE at Oshakati are investigating a case of fuel smuggling after a 26-year-old man identified as Hailume Johannes Tatemona from Oshikango in the Ohangwena Region was killed Friday night following a shootout with members of the Oshana police.
Oshana Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Hilja Haipumbu, revealed this to Informanté during a telephonic interview on Tuesday.
According to Haipumbu, the police received a tip off about illegal fuel traders who were conducting business in Oshakati, Ongwediva and Ondangwa
“It’s alleged that police members and illicit petrol dealers exchanged fire and in the process Tatemona died on the spot,” said Haipumbu.
According to Haipumbu, the other suspects were arrested shortly after fleeing from the scene. They were, however, released the following day pending police investigation.
The latest incident follows after two Oshakati residents, Joseph Nambandi, 42, and Shimbamba Joseph, 27, were caught red-handed and arrested by the Namibian police in the Ompumbu informal settlement of Oshakati in September.
They were allegedly found in possession of a total of 275 litres of petrol in 12 separate containers. They were also found with 11 empty containers of different sizes with traces of petrol, indicating that these containers too were used in the illegal fuel trade. They appeared in court and were released on bail pending further police investigation.
Police spokesperson in the Ohangwena region, Warrant Officer Abner Kaume Itumba noted that fuel smuggling is a much bigger problem in Ohangwena due to proximity and an open Namibia-Angola border.
“Fuel smugglers do not use the designated border crossing points. They cross anywhere any time because the border is open and police officers cannot be present everywhere,” he said.