No police officers have been suspended in connection with the deaths of five alleged robbers shot dead by officers at Okahandja in April.
Police deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi said investigations in the Okahandja shooting incident are at an advanced stage, with about 80% of the investigative work done.
“According to the Police Act policy on suspension of members, it is the prerogative of the inspector general of the Namibian Police, but for your information the officers are not suspended,” she said.
Shikwambi said the law/investigative processes are gradual processes and in most cases primarily involve and/or depend on experts and reports from relevant stakeholders.
“Once all supporting reports are obtained and the investigation is fully complete, the two dockets will be forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor General.
“As communicated before, the officers were not wearing uniforms, like any other member deployed to a specialised division under the criminal investigation department.
“In regard to the rest of your questions, please be informed that it will be premature to provide such information as it may jeopardise the investigations that are still underway and while the matter is not yet on the court roll,” she said.
Shikwambi said the investigating officers on the cases and the police in general will conclude the investigation accordingly and appropriately, with a view to avoid prejudice but to accord a fair trial.
In May, police deputy inspector general for operations major general Elias Mutota said a murder case was registered against the police officers involved in the deadly shooting, while a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property was registered against a sixth suspected robber, who managed to flee the scene of the shooting.
The men who died in the shooting are Abed Andreas, also known as ‘Koppe’, Flavianus Kaluwapa Endjala, also known as ‘Kalu’, Marius ‘Jackie’ Iipinge, Malakia Iiyambo Kotokeni, who was also known as ‘Brown’, and Erick Martin (‘Akawa’).
Although details remain sketchy months after the incident, the police had previously said the men were on their way to rob a gambling house at Okahandja.
Mutota said the five men had previously been arrested and granted bail in a combined total of 24 criminal cases, involving charges ranging from armed robbery, housebreaking and theft, to attempted murder, possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, illegal dealing in firearms, displaying of fake vehicle number plates, and escape from lawful custody.
In April, residents living close to where the incident took place said they heard a tyre burst, and then what sounded like semi-automatic assault rifles being fired.
A resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she heard more than 10 shots.
“When I went out of the room to light my cigarette around 23h00, I heard gunshots, they sounded like they were in my yard.
First, I heard a tyre burst, and I think one of the drivers lost control of the car and it overturned, then I heard gunshots that sounded like [that from] AK-47 guns,” recalls one of the residents of Smarties Extension 16 at Okahandja.
He said when he woke up the next morning, he could not see any evidence of what occurred, as officers were already cleaning the scene.
The incident happened on the Natis road at Okahandja, at the corner of Samuel Maharero Street.
After the incident, several reports emerged on social media linking the alleged suspects to previous criminal activities.
The police said they found two air guns, knives, and housebreaking equipment in the car of the deceased.