Family of police shooting victim demand answers

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Family of police shooting victim demand answers

RUNDU – The family of a police shooting victim, 34-year-old Joseph Kautjingu, on 17 March delivered a petition to the governor’s office, demanding answers from the Kavango East police, who have been tight-lipped on details of the incident.

The family have also enlisted Rundu-based lawyer Bernhard Tjatjara and through him requested the urgent disclosure of information regarding the shooting incident on 3 March during the police operation that took the life of Kautjingu.

Initial police reports said he was suspected of dealing in the trade of pangolin skins.

“To enable us to prepare and represent our client fully, kindly provide us with the following disclosure concerning the above matter to institute summons accordingly,” said Tjatjara in his letter to the police last week.

The police earlier informed the family that the disclosure of information rest with the office of the control prosecutor and not with the police.

The late Kautjingu, who was buried only on 18 March, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead by the time he got to the Rundu state hospital. 

The family in their petition indicated that on that particular day, a police vehicle that was being driven by constable Immanuel Kasera came to pick up the victim where he was selling meat – and together, they were seen at Mile 20 village in Kavango West at 20h00. 

After an hour, the family received the sad news that Kautjingu was shot dead by the police.

“Was he a danger or was he armed that it led to the shooting? The family demands proof,’’ reads the petition.

The family also questioned why the bullet was aimed at his upper body part rather than his legs or any lower part of the body, as well as the main reasons for shooting him twice.

“According to the police, he was trying to run away. If that is true, how did the bullets manage to get to his shoulder and hip joint instead of his back? The family were told he was killed because he had pangolin skin. Is the pangolin skin more valuable than human life?’’ they asked.

The family also questioned why the police officers involved have not been arrested.

The family gave the authorities 14 days for the responsible cops to be arrested.

Upon receiving the petition, Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo consoled the bereaved family and told them he will ensure their petition reached the right office.

“I value and appreciate that since the incident, you did not take the law into your own hands. Staging a demonstration is your constitutional right to demand justice from the intended institutions. Have trust in our legal system for justice to prevail,’’ the governor requested.