Keetmanshoop youth condemn alleged police brutality

27 Jan 2019 17:20pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 27 JAN (NAMPA) – A group of Keetmanshoop unemployed youth allegedly assaulted by members of the Namibian Police Force on Wednesday, on Friday condemned the “brutal beatings”, saying the police acted beyond their powers.
Speaking on behalf of the group at a press conference here, Joseph Isaaks said the government should explain and make it clear to them what order it gave to the police for them to act brutally on the protestors.
“The way the police acted was beyond their powers, they cannot assault young people demonstrating; demonstrating is a right, they were expressing that right,” he stressed.
The approximately 50 members of the group here on Wednesday entered the Office of the //Kharas Governor, Lucia Basson, with cleaning gear and started cleaning inside as well as outside.
According to the group, they were cleaning the office as a way to show their dismay about Prime Minister (PM) Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila’s response about the appointment of ‘struggle kids’ in Government jobs at the expense of local unemployed youth.
The police were called in to deal with the matter, after which scuffles broke out between the officers and the group following their refusal to vacate.
Fourteen members of the group were arrested the same day and were released on Friday after making their first court appearance in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court, where they were granted bail of N.dollars 400 each.
An amount of N.dollars 5 600 was contributed by members of the community towards their bail.
The group during the press conference claimed that the police started the violence with one of the officers allegedly taking a broom and assaulting a group member. They claimed that they ran out of the office, but that police officers chased after them, beating them and then arresting some of them.
Isaaks said the group will continue cleaning Government offices in Keetmanshoop as a way to demonstrate, until their demands for the withdrawal of the ‘struggle kids’ are met.
“We have spoken and met with everyone and no one listens; we will continue cleaning these offices until our demands are met,” he said.
He said the PM must know that they have not disappeared and that the struggle will continue.
“PM, not even these brutal beatings by the police will stop us; we will continue,” he added.
The group demands that the Cabinet resolution on the ‘struggle kids’ appointments be reversed and that all ‘struggle kids’ employed in Keetmanshoop and //Kharas vacate those positions and that locals be employed there instead.
The group said they would lay charges against the police.
“We will lay charges, our legal adviser said for transparency reasons we should not lay charges at the Keetmanshoop Police Station but approach the police commissioners and with their direction, we can then open a case at the station,” said Isaaks.
The group also claimed they were not given the opportunity to see a doctor after the attacks on them, even after indicating to the police that they needed medical attention.