Irresponsible reporting could cost lives: Nghishidimbwa

16 Nov 2017 21:00pm
By Uerikoha Tjijombo
WINDHOEK, 16 NOV (NAMPA) – Irresponsible reporting, if unabated, could easily lead to the loss of life, Khomas Regional Commander of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Commissioner Sylvanus Nghishidimbwa said on Thursday.
Nghishidimbwa’s comments come after an angry mob of Windhoek residents gathered at a house in Golgotha, Katutura after radio and social media reports suggested that a boy was kidnapped by the owner of a house there.
Emilie Tjakuapi, a member of the family residing at the house, told this agency they want to meet with the individual responsible for spreading the false rumour as well as the radio station responsible for transmitting it without verifying its authenticity.
It is alleged that the individual responsible for the rumour made claims that there were holes in the house where the bodies of children were kept before being transported to a destination elsewhere.
“We want that woman and the reporter from the radio so that they can tell us where the holes are in which the said children are buried and the Toyotas in which the kidnapped children are transported to Otjimbingwe,” Tjakuapi said.
NamPol released a media statement on Thursday afternoon in which it said the rumours on children being kidnapped, killed and or trafficked to other regions spread on Thursday morning through NBC Otjiherero Service as well as on social media, was unfounded.
What in fact transpired on Thursday morning, according to the statement, was that three young boys on their way to school threw rocks onto the roof of the house in question as they were passing.
One of the occupants of the house came out and the children ran away, after which the occupant chased them and caught up with one of them. He brought the boy back to the house intending to get information such as his parents’ contact details and to inform them of what happened as well as to go to school to trace the other two.
During this period, it is alleged that a bystander who witnessed the incident sounded an alarm of kidnapping and before long, the rumours spread like wildfire.
Before the police arrived at the scene, other members of the public also took footage of the house and spread the false news via social media.
When the police arrived, they found angry members of the public demanding to enter the house to see for themselves, and the police had to restrain them.
“An investigation was conducted and it was found that there was no single iota of truth to this rumour. The police will leave no stone unturned until it establishes where the rumour originated from,” the statement reads.
The public is warned to desist from spreading false rumours through social media while those responsible for spreading these rumours are requested to rectify the damage with the same prominence they spread it with.