WINDHOEK - Relatives of the 32-year-old man allegedly shot by a member of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) yesterday in Katutura want the government to take over the cost of burying the victim.
The deceased, Benisius Kalola, a resident of Single Quarters in Katutura, is the third person shot by members of the NDF after Operation Kalahari Desert, an anti-crime joint operation between the Namibian police, Namibian Correctional Service, Windhoek municipal police and other stakeholders, was launched.
An emotional cousin of the deceased, Maria Shikale, 32, told the media yesterday their parents reside in the north and those in Windhoek are now helplessly stranded with Kalola’s body.
Shikale said the family wants to know who the killer is and why he took the young man’s life.
The shooting took place around 10h00 in Market Street.
Unemployed Kalola, a father of two minor children, was shot once in the back with an AK-47 at Smarties location – a couple of metres from the family home in Single Quarters.
This happened after a hot pursuit of him by armed NDF members. It is alleged that after the shooting of Kalola, the NDF member who pulled the trigger was picked up by an official vehicle that immediately left the scene.
The motive of the shooting was not clear as of late yesterday, although it has been alleged that Kolola was being pursued in connection with drug dealing.
“He was senselessly killed. He didn’t take any person’s thing. Why is the government sending people to come kill us? We are sad. I can’t believe he is gone. I still believe he is coming back,” a sobbing Shikale said.
A disgruntled resident who was at the scene where Kalola was shot feared that stray bullets could have hit anyone in sight.
“We send our children to the shops and they are just shooting,” complained the resident.
Another resident told New Era that she was standing at the gate when two NDF members came running in her direction chasing Kalola.
She recommended that the “police need to warn the public that when they see members on patrol, they should not run away from them (police) to avoid such incidences from reoccurring”.
Namibian spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi said no one was yet arrested. Shikwambi added that the police are investigating the matter to determine the cause of the shooting.
Human Rights lawyer Norman Tjombe said the matter must be properly investigated and the shooter and the commander or commanders be prosecuted should any evidence be found that this was just again one of those trigger-happy soldiers. “The minister of safety and security must also immediately consider the amendment of section 49 (2) of the Police Act’s ‘licence to kill’ provision so as to bring it within the confines of our constitutional values,” said Tjombe.
Tjombe added that any arresting officer should not just shoot at any fleeing suspect regardless of the seriousness of the alleged offence.
“In the case where the fleeing suspect is not posing any threat to anyone, there is no justification why he or she should be shot at,” said Tjombe.
He said that the constitutional right to life is too important to be take lightly.
Over two weeks ago, Herman Shiimi, 21, was shot by an NDF member in Kuisebmond, Walvis Bay after the second phase of the joint operation was launched.
New Era reported that Shiimi was trying to flee after he allegedly robbed another man at around 02h30 at a popular hangout area in Kuisebmond.
About two months ago, a Zimbabwean taxi driver, Talent Fambaune, who was living in Namibia, was shot by an NDF officer during the first phase of Operation Kalahari Desert. Fambaune was on his way back home after visiting a friend in Hakahana location.
He saw a roadblock metres ahead and tried to drive back, as foreigners are not allowed to drive taxis in Namibia.
NDF soldier Gerson Nakale was arrested in connection with Fambaune’s killing and he remains in custody, from where his bid for bail has failed so far.
The current phase of Operation Kalahari Desert will cease this Sunday.
At the launch of the phase, police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said all members taking part in the operation have received a three-day intensive induction, focusing particularly on the conduct, roles and rules of engagement during the execution of their duties.