Trial-awaiting inmates at the Tsumeb police station are alleging police brutality after two were reportedly assaulted by officers earlier this week, as the force carried out a routine search for illegal items.
It is alleged that the police found smuggled cannabis, cell phones as well as a bottle of whiskey in the holding cells.
It is further alleged that when the police wanted to confiscate the items, some inmates attacked them, leading the officers to flee and call for backup.
Members of the Reserve Force were then summoned, and they allegedly pulled out the suspects and assaulted them.
Oshikoto’s deputy commissioner responsible for operations Petrus Shigwedha confirmed
the incident, and said a report has been forwarded to police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga.
He could, therefore, not fully pronounce himself on the matter. The report names
eight officers as allegedly taking two inmates from the cells, driving with them towards the Tsumeb airport, and beating them in the
bushes before returning them to the cells.
In a text message, Ndeitunga acknowledged the unfortunate incidents, saying he dispatched a team from Windhoek yesterday morning, and was waiting for the report and recommendations.
On the other hand, police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi could neither confirm nor deny if any cases were opened, rather saying that they are waiting to be briefed by the investigating team.
“I can confirm that the victims have been taken to hospital and are receiving treatment. Once the report is provided, we will communicate what allegedly happened,” she added.
A video circulating on social media, reportedly recorded by the inmates with a smartphone inside the cells, shows some with severe bruises. “We don’t know what is wrong with these police officers. They just come drunk from the location to beat up people. They are not even wearing uniforms. How can they take people and beat them up in the bushes?” inmates can be heard asking.
“Who gave the police the right to beat people like this? Ndeitunga, is this allowed, or do you allow your force to go drink? We should go to the courts and tell them what is happening so that we are given bail to go home to our parents, where it’s safe.
“We thought we are safe here, but it’s not the case,” the inmates said, as they captured visuals of bruises on the buttocks, arms and faces of some of the alleged victims.