23 June 2015
INVESTIGATE POLICE BRUTALITY ON KATIMA LAND PROTESTERS
As a human rights conscious organisation, Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) hereby call on the Ombudsman of Namibia, Adv. John Walters, to investigate, or institute a commission of inquiry on, the following allegations levelled against Namibian police officers, and Katima Mulilo Town Council staff(s) alleged to have happened on the 16th of June 2015 in Katima Mulilo;
1. That land protesters, including women, were beaten mercilessly with fists and kicks, and some were followed/chased metres away and beaten by police officers with fists and kicks after/despite dispersing or leaving the protest point,
2. That some protesters were denied medical treatment, and apparently one of them died as a result of inter alia teargas suffocation and deprivation of the right to medical treatment,
3. That some Katima Mulilo Town Council staff members, particularly Hon. Salubila Maswahu, publicly exposed and fired his personal riffles, at the event, with an intention to either kill, harm or scare protesters, making sure that they never think of peacefully demanding anything from council,
4. That the police action was premeditated, was accesive (not proportional) and unnecessary, and also affected non protesters in nearby houses with tear!
It is the interest of the entire Caprivian society, protestors and their family members to know what exactly happened, why it happened, and ensure that culprits are brought to book. It is also in the interest or protection of the supreme law of any government which is party/signatory to UN Charter and Universal Declaration for human rights to ensure that people’s rights and dignity are respected.
We are reliably informed that protestors never caused any damage to the council’s properties or any individual’s property. It is therefore possible, and reasonable to suggest that protestors were indeed peaceful and attacked no one. It is not forgetfulness nor ignorance that KMTC have not filed any complaint against either the protest organisers or any individual, neither is it complicency or negligence that no one was detained and charged by police, in connection with the protest, and the absence of such complaints or charges is all an honest admission by council management and Police that protestors or the protest were peaceful indeed.
If the office of the Ombudsman will not take this seriously with the urgency it deserves, CCG will consider other avenues or approaches for redress and to ensue that alleged perpetrators are dealt with accordingly and proportionally! With knowledge of police tendencies of taking the law into their own hands since 1998 in Caprivi, CCG will not take lightly any abuse of authority exercised upon any Caprivian, particularly by Police officers or any community member.
We have video clips, other printed materials and some individual victims’ tesimonies suggesting or supporting these allegations, and we have the a duty to direct them to relevant authorities. It is important to impress that we have the capacity to take serious cases such as these to court, as a the second option, as we have done with no vote t-shirts confiscation and detention of no vote activists by police, a civil case awaiting hearing in Windhoek high court, scheduled for 21 September 2015.
We hope this humble call will not be ignored.
Caprivi Concerned Group
Cellphone number: +264814960827