More allegations of police brutality against 'struggle kids'

27 May 2013 12:10
WINDHOEK, 27 MAY (NAMPA) - More allegations of brutality surfaced against Namibian Police Force (NamPol) officers following the death of a deaf ?struggle kid?, Titus Mweshininga Iita on Saturday here.
Executive Director of Namrights, Phil ya Nangolo said during a joint media briefing with about 62 ?children of the liberation struggle? here on Monday, Iita allegedly suffered assault twice at the hands of the police. He was admitted to the Katutura State Hospital early May.
During the media briefing, the ?struggle kids? narrated cruel and inhumane treatment against them while in detention at the Katutura Police Station, Windhoek Central Prison, Seeis Police Camp, Hosea Kutako Police Station and Dordabis Detention Centre.
The 185 disgruntled children of the liberation struggle were arrested and charged with trespassing and contempt of court after they failed to comply with a court interdict which was issued by the Windhoek High Court prohibiting them not to occupy any place or area within the boundaries of the Windhoek Municipality.
Currently, 42 struggle kids are still held at the Windhoek Central Prison and 35 at the Dordabis Detention Centre.
The 62 youth were released from detention after some posted bail, while others, like Iita and pregnant and lactating mothers, were set free after charges against them were dropped.
Nehemia Makili, 29, told the media that during detention at the Katutura Police Station, some police officers stripped them naked, forced them to hop like frogs, and then put their fingers in their anuses, apparently to search for mobile phones.
?On 25 May, I was released and told to report back at around 16h00 in the afternoon. When I returned at that time, I requested to speak to the station?s commanding officer, Chief Inspector Ismael Basson, as I had intentions to lay a charge against those officers,? he said.
Instead, one of the officers hit him with a truncheon on his forehead.
Olivia Shimbaba, 25, who was held at the Dordabis Detention Centre, said they were being held in overcrowded and filthy police cells, and were being denied adequate and nutritious food, let alone medical treatment when they needed it.
?In the mornings, we would be served two slices of bread with coffee, and that was our only meals for two weeks,? Shimbaba said.
The ?children of the liberation struggle? and Namrights are now calling on the immediate release of all their colleagues who are still in police custody.
Ya Nangolo said the ?struggle kids? are now ?political prisoners?, as they were detained simply because they demonstrated and demanded what is entitled to them such as the right to be given jobs by Government as well as welfare.
?So, because of that and for the sake of demonstration, they were locked up, brutalised and charged with charges of trespassing,? the head of Namrights said.
According to Ya Nangolo, the ?struggle kids? also informed him that they are being tried by hostile courts, hostile police officers, prosecutors and an unfriendly magistrate.
Ya Nangolo further lashed out that the ?struggle kids? were also held incommunicado, meaning they were not allowed to be visited by relatives or friends and were completely cut off from communicating with the outside world.
?This treatment is really reminiscent of the apartheid days or even worse, the dungeons of Lubango, where people were detained indefinitely and incommunicado,? he said.
Ya Nangolo said some of the ?struggle kids? are in fact children of those who disappeared in the dungeons of Lubango and grew up without parents.
He noted that the ?struggle kids? are special, as they grew up in serious parent-less conditions in exile.
?They are thus entitled to the war veterans? pay outs, jobs, welfare and to school just like other plan combatants,? he said.
Ya Nangolo pointed out that the ?struggle kids? are not looking for office jobs, as even jobs such as cleaning toilets would be appreciated.
He then called on the chief of the Namibian Police, Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga to conduct an internal investigation into the alleged police brutality of ?struggle kids? at the hands of the police.
Approached for comment on the matter, NamPol Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said these were serious allegations directed at the police, and promised to call a media conference on the matter soon.
Meanwhile, the ?struggle kids? were planning to stage a peaceful demonstration to the house of their fallen comrade, Iita, who lived in Havanna?s Katutura informal settlement.