The governor of Ohangwena region, Walde Ndevashiya, said allegations of harassment levelled against the police by civilians living along the Namibian-Angolan border are serious and warrants an internal investigation.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, Ndevashiya said his office will conduct its own investigation into the matter.
The governor said he first heard the allegations when he visited the Onamhinda slain man’s family on Saturday to offer his condolences.
“These are serious allegations and in my opinion, it warrants an internal investigation; I will not condone people being harassed,” said Ndevashiya.
Giving context to the complexity of border issues, the governor, in the same vein, appealed to people living along the borders to maintain law and order.
Highlighting some of the biggest challenges experienced at the borders over the past years, he said the public is using unauthorised points to smuggle fuel to the extent that it has affected the flow of customers to service stations in Ohangwena and Omusati because smuggled fuel is sold at a cheaper price.
The confiscation of such fuel has brought animosity between civilians and the police with some people claiming that it is their means of survival.
Just last year, the police also discovered oil, which was stored in a house near the border.
Whilst condemning police harassment, the governor said it remains imperative for the public to allow the police to do their work.
“To a certain extent, the public also makes the work of the police difficult and I am therefore urging the public to cooperate with the police at all times,” said Ndevashiya.
The governor said the smuggling of goods is not in favour of anybody but is jeopardising the country’s development.
“When we evade customs, we deprive the country from collecting value added tax, which also then contributes to infrastructural development. Even when you put fuel in your car, part of the money goes for road development and MVA for accident damages,” said Ndevashiya.
The governor said there is an interdependency of the people living along the borders between the two countries.
There are records of Angolan children crossing daily into Namibia for school, hospital services as well as shopping.
The same practice happens for Namibia, as the country also has a large herd of livestock, particularly cattle, grazing in Angola.
Given the complexity of these issues, border patrol remains a challenge.
The governor said transport to ensure effective patrol in the region is also a challenge.
Despite the need to cross between the two countries to access services, some individuals are also using the opportunity to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the country.
Although there are demarcated points of entry, the same border is also used by illegal immigrants to cross into the country.