CAPRIVI HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CONTINUES
(Herbert Mahoto Tortured by Police and Game Wardens)
A resident of Kapani village was severely tortured by a collective of Police Officers and Nature Conservation Wardens at Bukalo where he was visting a friend on Thursday, 06 October 2016 in the afternoon.
The mob accused Mahoto, whom they found in a house, of not only being a poacher but also a “rebel” and a member of Caprivi Concerned Group. After a group of game guards came to the home where he was, and searched for whatever they were looking for and found nothing, hours later another group comprising of Morgan Saisai, Francis Satamba, a certain Victor, and a Nampol Warrant Officer Kaunda came and handcuffed him.
Mahoto did not resist. However, after handcuffing him, they started assaulting him with sticks, fists and kicks. Morgan Saisai asked the victim why he is found in Bukalo Area when he is from Linyanti, and they continued beating him while handcuffed!
They asked me “where is your gun”, I told them that “I don’t have a gun and they continued to beat me, they put sand in my mouth and nose then continued kicking and stood on my chest and stomach. I fainted, they poured water on me and when I got back my consciousness, they continued assaulting me. Warrant Officer Kaunda even pointed an assault riffle (AK47) to me, closer to my head and said if I don’t tell them where the “guns” are he would kill me, Mahoto recalled!
When the mob was tired, they drove with Mahoto to Ngoma Police Station where he was kept for almost two hours before he was ferried to Katima Mulilo Police Station where he stayed for another two hours as Officers on duty refused to take him to the Hospital to get medical treatment for the injuries sustained.
When he was finally taken to the hospital he was admitted and Police Officers were assigned to guard him. By Monday 10 October, no official charges were layed against him by Police or Nature Conservation, but while he was still admitted in the hospital Police Officers requested him on this day to sign a release sheet indicating that he is released from Police Custody but he refused!
Meanwhile, Mahoto have opened a dockect against the perpetrators (CR 73/10/2016) on charges of assault with aggravating circumstances, torture, theft, malicious damage to property, and illegal detention. When he was discharged from the hospital, he was not taken back into police custody since there no official charges against him.
Mahoto sustained a fracture to his left arm and bruises all over his body! He also lost his cellphone and other materials in the process, presumably stollen by those who assaulted him. This comes at a time when Namibia is expected to respond to a letter from the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, and at a time that Namibian government denies related human rights violations in Caprivi Strip towards members of Caprivi Concerned Group.
Morgan Saisai is the same who assaulted and tortured Mr. Robert Salukombe in 2014 in the same way as he did to Mr. Mahoto. In the case of Mr. Salikombe, (See http://www.nshr.org.na/index.php?module=News&func=display&sid=1992) who as well personally opened a criminal case against Saisai and his accomplices (CR 08/04/2014), NamRights urged “MET Minister Uahekua Herunga to personally ensure that Warden Morgan Saisai and his alleged accomplices have been instantly suspended pending the finalization of Police investigation of the TCIDT allegations”, but nothing was done.
Similarly, the communication from the Chairperson of the AfriCHPR recommended, inter alia, that Government of Namibia “provides clarification to the Commission regarding the alleged violations, and refrains from committing acts of harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, arbitrary restriction on the right to freedom of association and assembly;and ensures that those responsible for the above-stated alleged violations are held accountable in accordance with the relevant international and regional standards.
According to Article 5 of the Responsibility of States in Internationally Wrongful Acts, as adoped by the International Law Commission in 2001, the conduct of a person or entity …empowered by the law of the State to exercise elements of the governmental authority shall be considered an act of the State under international law, provided the person or entity is acting in that capacity in the particular instance. Suffices to say, the conduct of Morgan Saisai and his accomplices who acted wrongly in their official capacities is construed as the conduct of the State (the Namibian government), and should be considered as a continuation of, or complementing, the human rights violations report against Namibia which are before the AfriCHPR.
Namibia was expected to report back on the implementation of the Provisional Measures granted, within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the letter,but failed to do so within the given time. It is also important to report that Government of Namibia also failed to submit its observations on the addimissibilty of the matter to the Commission within the months which was given.
Caprivi Concerned Group.