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Head of rural water refutes claim over well deaths

2019-06-18  Staff Reporter

Head of rural water refutes claim over well deaths

ONGWEDIVA – The head of rural and water supply in the northern region in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Stevenson Tuukondjele has described the death of the two men who died in a well at Okatope in Ohangwena Region as unfortunate, although saying it was a result of negligence as the duo were warned prior to digging the well.

“Through our investigations, we have established, it was not a case of any water in the area that people ended up losing their lives. One of the deceased was hired by the owner of the house, while the second victim came to assist. The area has a fine soil texture; hence, it is risky for one to dig a well. They were well aware of the risk,” he stated.

Tuukondjele refuted claims that government was doing little to make provision of water as asserted to by the public, although he acknowledged there is a crisis in some places, but in this specific incident, he said there are public water points within a radius of 800 metres.

“The assertion being made by the public is totally wrong and false. How can you blame government when it has made provision, the whole area of Okatope is connected to pipelines,” said Tuukondjele.
The two, 29-year-old Junias Hauwanga and 37-year-old Hangula Jacob died after sand collapsed on them while digging a well.

Their bodies where only discovered on Sunday.
On a different note, All People’s Party (APP) Secretary General Vincent Kanyetu has called for the immediate suspension of the police officers who were at the scene at Okatope where the two men were trapped underground.

Kanyetu who blames the police for the circulation of images and videos of the deceased said such conduct is unprofessional, uncalled for and inhumane.

“Those images and videos must have come from the police and it is unacceptable that we have them on social media.  Did they think about how the relatives might be feeling? Police officers have taken an oath, is that what they took an oath for?” queried Kanyetu.

Kanyetu further said that police officers should ensure that there is room for secrecy even for deceased persons saying that some images and videos are not for public domain.

While it has become a practice to dig water wells in many parts in the northern region that is without water, Kanyetu called on the business people to come to the aid of the community.
“Let us spend less on luxury and help our community. That same excavator that was being used to find the bodies could have been used to dig a well for the same community to prevent further scenarios of such nature,” said Kanyetu.

Regional Crime Coordinator in Ohangwena Region, Deputy Commissioner Zacharia Amakali said he cannot pinpoint where the images came from as the search was done by both the community and the police.

“But from our side, we did not release any footage officially,” Amakali said.

2019-06-18  Staff Reporter

Tags: Ohangwena
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