Government-led operation condemned for allegedly killing civilian

13 Jun 2019 19:50pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) – Opposition parties have condemned the alleged shooting and killing of a taxi driver in Windhoek Thursday morning at a police roadblock.
A Namibian Defence Force (NDF) member allegedly shot and killed the taxi driver in the Greenwell Matongo informal settlement in Windhoek after he approached a roadblock set up as part of Operation Kalahari Desert.
The reported aim of the joint operation between members of the NDF, Namibian Police Force, Namibian Correctional Service and Windhoek City Police is to flush out criminals more intensively and to make Namibia safer.
The taxi allegedly approached the roadblock set up in Monica Street, but then made a U-turn and sped off.
The 38-year-old suspect, who was with a police officer, allegedly fired one shot in the direction of the fleeing taxi, hitting the taxi driver in the head.
In an interview with Nampa on Thursday, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani said although he does not know whether the officer’s life was threatened, if the story circulating in the media is true, then the operation needs to be re-evaluated.
“One cannot be judgemental whether the person was threatening the life of the police officer or not, but if it is true that what we are hearing preliminarily, that the person was shot unarmed, then we need to review the whole process of putting out soldiers on the street,” he said.
Venaani further said the presence of army vehicles in the capital signals a militarised state which infringes on the rights of free movement in an independent and democratic Namibia.
In a media statement, the Landless People’s Movement’s (LPM) national coordinator Ivan Skywer demanded that NDF members be withdrawn without further delay “because it is unconstitutional to deploy the army on unarmed civilians, without the president declaring a state of emergency.”
He said LPM will mobilise the masses to defend themselves against the army.
“This includes seeking help from other countries, in the form of military intervention, to ensure the safety of unarmed civilians,” Skrywer said.
Similarly, Affirmative Repositioning movement leader Job Amupanda stressed that the public along with his formation have called for the role of the soldiers to be redirected out of the streets so they can instead attend to Namibia’s territorial integrity.
“We are now determined in ensuring that the soldiers, whose training is to kill… are removed from our streets,” Amupanda said.
He went on to say they are in consultation with the People’s Litigation Centre to launch an urgent application to be heard in the Windhoek High Court “to ensure that another life is not lost at the hands of soldiers working on the instruction and at the caprice of the political elite.”