SERIOUS steps will be taken against law enforcement officials who willfully obstruct the course of justice when confronted by their fellow officials who are tasked to enforce the law of the land during special law enforcement operations.
The Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga said during a special briefing in Windhoek that the second phase of Operation Hornkranz has shown that most of the complaints against the harsh conduct of the combined teams of officers from the Namibian Police and soldiers of the Namibian Defence Force came from their fellow officers who own and run shebeens.
“That is unacceptable by any standard!”
The General also indicated that Operation Hornkraz will come to an end on Friday 10 May but that will immediately be followed by Operation Kalahari Desert that will continue to battle crime on all levels of society.
The full statement by the Inspector General reads as follows:
I invited you to brief you on inter alia disturbing reports of alleged brutalities by uniform personnel during “Operation Hornkranz”, as well as to share with you successes and challenges of the operation.
With regard to the allegations of brutality made against members of the current police-led operation, I should state at the very onset that several complaints regarding such allegations were brought to my attention. Obviously, whenever a case is recorded, it has to be investigated and, needless to say, this requires the employment of resources, to ensure that in the end justice is done. In this case, all incidents brought to the attention of the police are being investigated accordingly for us to establish the truth and ensure that justice prevails.
However, it is disheartening to note that, amongst the alleged incidents referred to, some of the alleged victims are from the uniform branch that is the Namibian Police Force and the Namibian Defence Force, respectively. A team of investigators from our law enforcement agencies are investigating all these allegations.
Here are some of the observations thus far:
– Although the operation is being conducted in all fourteen regions, complaints were only recorded in the capital city during the weekend of 27 to 28 April;
– Most if not all of the alleged incidents occurred during late night or early morning hours, with many occurring at alcohol outlets; and – It was noted that some off-duty police officers and soldiers were amongst the lawbreakers, as they were operating shebeens, refusing to close after the stipulated operating hours and were particularly confrontational with the operational teams.
I would like to highlight the following: We have some law enforcement officials who are obstructing their colleagues in enforcing the law, and that is unacceptable by any standard! Surely steps will be taken against those law enforcers.
It must also be noted that our members on the operation are sometimes dealing with highly intoxicated, unruly and uncooperative people, who, without provocation, are insulting and even assaulting the officers on duty. The law enforcers are there to enforce the law and thus cannot give in to threats and insults of drunken members of the public. Their mission is to ensure the maintenance of law and order.
I understand that about six cases have been registered with the Namibian Police Force in Khomas Region, implicating members of the police-led joint operation.
The investigations are at an advanced stage. I have directed the investigators to ensure that such cases are thoroughly and objectively investigated, to ensure that justice is not only done but is seen to have been done. At the same time, I would like to caution members of the public not to make false statements under oath as this would constitute a crime and has legal consequences, as perpetrators could be charged for perjury.
Similarly, I urge you members of the media to apply thorough investigative journalism on any allegations made against the law enforcement officers – or any other citizen for that matter, prior to reporting.
On a different note, I would to inform you that phase 2 of “Operation Hornkranz” has recorded a great deal of successes thus far, nationwide:
– Five hundred and ninety-nine (599) suspects were arrested for various offences ranging from serious cases, such as Murder, to minor cases such as Shoplifting;
– Four hundred and seventy-nine (479) dangerous objects were confiscated, including sixteen (16) pistols and two (02) shotguns;
– Illicit drugs worth over N$2.6 million were seized;
– Illicit cigarettes, worth sixty thousand, three hundred and ninety-two Dollars (N$60 392.00) were seized;
– Counterfeit alcohol, worth nineteen thousand eight hundred and eighty Dollars (N$19 880.00) were seized;
– Counterfeit foodstuff (sugar) worth seventy thousand Dollars (N$ 70 000.00) were seized;
– Cosmetics worth thirty-eight thousand, three hundred and two Dollars (N$38 302.00) were seized;
– Livestock (cattle, goats, sheep) worth two hundred and eleven thousand and one hundred Dollars (N$211 100.00) were recovered;
– Four (04) carcasses of cattle, worth forty-four thousand and five hundred Dollars (N$44 500.00), as well as game, meat worth twenty-six thousand and nine hundred Dollars (N$ 26 900.00), were seized;
– A stolen vehicle, valued at forty-five thousand Dollars (N$45 000.00), was recovered;
– Counterfeit goods were also confiscated in actions conducted in conjunction with Customs and Excise authorities and other stakeholders such as cell phone accessories and parts valued at forty-five thousand and four hundred Dollars (N$45 400. 00) and apparels (clothing) valued at one hundred and fifty-seven thousand, four hundred and eighty-four Dollars (N$ 157 484.00); a Ford Bantam vehicle was also impounded;
– On the poaching front, six (6) elephant tusks were confiscated and one Namibian male arrested, while two (2) rhino horns to the value of one million Namibia Dollar (N$ 1 000 000. 00) were recovered;
– Regarding road traffic violations, one thousand six hundred and seventy two (1672) summonses to the value of one million six hundred and seventy two thousand Namibia Dollar (N$ 1 672 900. 00) were issued; while forty-eight (48) people were arrested for driving whilst under the influence of intoxicating substances.
All these successes were obtained during a short period of thirty days (01-30 April 2019), thus justifying the need for such or similar operations to continue.
In view of the above successes, I would like to express my immense appreciation and gratitude to all the participants in “Operation Hornkranz”, particularly commanders of the various joint groups – comprising members of NAMPOL, NDF, NCS and Municipal Police Services, where they exist, and other stakeholders for a job well-done. I should also express our gratitude to our law-abiding citizens and visitors to the Land of the Brave who rendered their invaluable collaboration in this worthy endeavour.
In conclusion I would like to inform you and, through you, the larger Namibian public that “Operation Hornkrantz” will cease on Friday, 10 May 2019. However, another police-led law enforcement operation, code-named “Operation Kalahari Desert” will commence immediately thereafter, nationwide.
As we embark on the new operation, lawlessness, undermining of authority, obstructing officers in the execution of their duties, unruly and any other unbecoming behaviour will not be tolerated. I, therefore, urge communities nationwide to cooperate with the law enforcement officers during such operations. Our communities should know that law enforcement operations are very pertinent to their safety and security; and society ought to appreciate the efforts being made by law enforcement agencies to ensure that law and order, safety and security prevail in our suburbs and the country as a whole.
In the same vein, I urge all law enforcers to refrain from the use of unnecessary force and/or violence during any operations, because it is against the law and our standard operating procedures. All security-related matters must be solved amicably, without recourse to violence. Minimum force must only be applied lawfully, if and when necessary, particularly in order to subdue uncooperative suspects.