Otjiwarongo Police accused of brutality on taxi driver

17 Mar 2017 17:50pm
By Mulisa Simiyasa
OTJIWARONGO, 17 MAR (NAMPA) – A 23-year-old taxi driver was allegedly beaten up and gun-pointed by two police officers in the Orwetoveni residential area here on Thursday.
The driver is Sakaria Tangeni Vaino.
The Otjozondjupa Police on Thursday morning set up unexpected roadblocks, stopping and searching pedestrians and checking the licences of taxi drivers and street vendors.
It was during this operation that the officers stopped Vaino, demanding his driver’s licence.
Eyewitness, Esmeralda !Aebes told Nampa the beatings she witnessed occurred shortly after 10h15 along Dr Libertina Amathila Street, and lasted for about three minutes.
“I was standing at a braai stand when I saw a police officer approaching a taxi driver and heard him demand his driver’s licence,” !Aebes said.
Shortly after, the officer then allegedly slapped the taxi driver twice and punched him in the face several times.
He was joined by another police officer in punching the driver in the stomach and face until he spat blood on the ground, according to !Aebes.
“That’s why they let him go. The taxi driver did not fight back and he had produced a driving licence,” she said.
Another eyewitness, Lovisa Kayambu, told this journalist a third officer was present but he did not touch the man.
Kayambu said police brutality in Otjiwarongo has been going on for some time, and it is a concern.
Both eyewitnesses said they would be able to identify the two “savage” police officers should they be paraded.
A brother of Vaino, Nestor Sakaria, told this agency his younger brother was arrested shortly after the attack by the same police officers.
“My brother told me that shortly after the attack on him, the same officers followed him, stopped his taxi and pointed a gun in his face,” said Sakaria.
Vaino was transported to the Otjiwarongo Police Station, where one of the officers laid a charge of assault by threat against him.
Case number CR 74/03/2017 indicate that Vaino had threatened to “deal” with the two officers who attacked him, once they were off-duty.
Nampa established that Vaino was locked up on Thursday and remains in police custody.
Otjiwarongo Police Station Commander, Chief Inspector Francis Makata said Thursday that he was aware of the incident and would investigate the case before pronouncing himself on the matter.
Otjozondjupa Regional Deputy Commissioner, Gerhard Uataurua Mavenjono condemned any attack on civilians by police officers.
Mavenjono said no police officer is supposed to beat up or harass people, noting that officers are tasked with the national duty to protect people and their property.
“We always tell them not to beat anyone; they are aware of this,” he said, adding that they will investigate the incident.