'Don't touch it, report it' campaign active again

30 Sep 2015 12:30pm


More than 50 people were killed and 253 injured by unexploded ordnances in Namibia between the year 2000 and this year, according to the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)'s Explosives Control Division.

The Head of NamPol's Public Relations Division, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi provided these statistics at a media briefing held at Oshakati on Tuesday.

The deaths were recorded after "Don't touch it, report it" campaign run by the government between 1997 and 2000, during which the number of injuries and deaths as a result of unexploded ordinances reduced substantially.

Kanguatjivi pointed out that the deaths and injuries of people due to unexploded ordnances between 2000 and 2015 prompted the Inspector-General of NamPol, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga to send a team to the affected regions.

This team, Kanguatjivi said, is assessing the situation and re-starting the "Don't touch it, report it" campaign. Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene, the two Kavango regions and Zambezi are the affected regions.

The team, which is headed by the head of the Explosives Control Division, Deputy Commissioner John Alweendo, started the campaign in northern Namibia on 16 September.

It started in the Oshikoto Region, where five days of campaigning took place, and proceeded to Ohangwena, where another five days of campaigning took place.

"The team ended up doing a lot of destruction (of unexploded ordnances) in the two regions so far visited," Kanguatjivi said.

He went on to say that at every awareness session conducted in the Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions, there were new reports of unexploded ordnances which had to be attended to.

Items destroyed or removed were 3x60mm live mortar bombs (destroyed); 11x60mm mortar bomb tailfins (removed); 3x60mm fired mortar bombs (removed); 4xN65 live rifle grenades (destroyed); 1x90mm live high explosive anti-tank round (destroyed) and 1x103 live rifle grenade (destroyed).

The team commenced its campaign in the Oshana Region on Tuesday and will do assessments for the next two days before departing for the Omusati and Kunene regions.

It expects to complete its works in the Omusati and Kunene regions on 13 October before returning to Windhoek to plan for the Kavango and Zambezi regions.

"Our ultimate aim is to educate each and every citizen in our country about the danger of unexploded ordnances. It must be an accident and not as a result of ignorance or lack of knowledge," Kanguatjivi stated.

The campaign is set to end on 05 November.