Police officers, accused of assaulting two trial-awaiting inmates in Tsumeb last week, have returned to work after paying N$2 000 bail each.
Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said internal investigations would determine whether the actions of the eight police officers warrant misconduct charges.
He said further action will also be determined by criminal proceedings on charges and disciplinary action to be instituted internally. The matter is currently before the courts.
The seven suspects appeared in the Tsumeb Magistrate’s Court on Monday and were each granted bail of N$2 000, while the eighth accused is yet to be apprehended and charged.
A police source said the eighth accused has not been well lately, so he has not been arrested and charged.
The matter was postponed to 3 August for further investigations.
“The investigation continues until the case reappears in court. We are trying to scrutinise if any action needs to be taken before the criminal case – like misconduct – or we will wait until the whole prosecution process is finalised,” said Ndeitunga when approached for comment regarding the status of the investigation.
“For now, we will focus and start sensitising and educating the officers to refrain from excessive use of force for suspects under arrest. This process will continue so that we nurture the trust of the community in the police, and make sure that the rights and freedom of citizens are not only respected but enforced well by law enforcements.”
Ndeitunga also said the force will emphasise training police officers to master the concept of self-defence and use of minimum force, as well as taking appropriate decisions at the right time to avoid using excessive power.
These remarks come in reaction to police officers being overpowered by trial-awaiting inmates when they tried to search for illegal items in the holding cells in Tsumeb on Monday last week. Cannabis, cell phones and whiskey were among the items found during the routine search.
The resistance from the inmates resulted in the officers requesting reinforcement, to which Reserve Force members were called in to address the situation.
However, it ended in brutal assault when two inmates, who are said to be notorious, were brutally assaulted.
The suspects, in a police minibus, allegedly drove the inmates bushes near the Tsumeb airport, where they assaulted them.
In a video recording that went viral on social media, bruises could be seen all over the bodies of the two victims, who later opened cases of grievous bodily harm.
Meanwhile, acting regional commander for Oshikoto Deputy Commissioner Petrus Shigwedha said members have since returned to work upon release from custody after they were able to pay the bail.
He also emphasised that no internal action has been taken yet, as they are waiting for a directive from Ndeitunga, who last week dispatched a top-level team of detectives to investigate the allegations.
The suspects have been identified as warrant officer Tuhafeni Hamukwaya (31), sergeants Sackaria Ipangelwa (30), Lukas Ihuhwa (29) and Petrus Paulus (29), as well as constables Mwala Ndemupunda (28), Endjala Anyolo (30) and Chihiho Mario (22).