Don’t harbour criminals, police tell Keetmanshoop community

Marius Katamila

//KHARAS police regional commander Marius Katamila has urged community members at Keetmanshoop not to harbour criminals in their homes.

Speaking at a community meeting at Keetmans­hoop on Tuesday, Katamila said residents are suffering at the hands of the Hosh-Hosh gang operating with impunity, assaulting people, selling drugs and stealing/selling stolen goods.

He said police investigations indicate that the Hosh-Hosh gang are former prisoners taking instructions from the leaders of the 26, 27, and 28 gangs in prison to recruit school going and unemployed youth to sell drugs and create a turf war at Keetmanshoop.

“These perpetrators were not born from a tree but they are children of the very people suffering from these offences, yet no one is willing to come forward for fear of retaliation by the gang.

“So, this whole issue is about drugs and the territory to sell that has created a turf war.

“Community members, you like demonstrating, but you don’t demonstrate for crime and other worthy causes, stop harbouring these criminals because you know who these people are. They are your children and you want to protect them. But unfortunately if you want rest from Hosh-Hosh, you have to report them,” said Katamila.

He urged the parents of the Tseiblaagte and KrÖnlein residential areas to apply parenting skills with their children, noting that gangsterism is not actually a police problem but a social problem due to a lack of proper parenting, which becomes a police problem when crimes are committed.

He said gangs and gangsterism are not new to Keetmanshoop, dating back to 1980-1990 when the Garage Boys were prominent at Tseiblaagte and Die Katte at KrÖnlein.

“Most of the crimes at Keetmanshoop come from Tseiblaagte-KrÖnlein areas. Rapes, murder and theft and take place mostly over weekends, according to our analysis. Go back to the basics of parenting. We also realise young people have no alternative social outlets. So, we have to look at holistic solutions as well.”

Community members have requested that offenders serve their time outside of the //Kharas region, as gang members from Hardap and //Kharas currently serve time together.

“We are being threatened that they will kill us if we report. Some were already assaulted for suspicion that they spoke to the police, while it was not the case,” said Vernon Vries.

Over the past three to four months, there has been an outcry from community members who say they are living in fear of the Hosh-Hosh gang.

Deputy commissioner Nicodemus Mbango issued a call for victims to come forward a month ago, but no one has come forward.

Last month, 12 gang members were arrested after one was stabbed but refused to lay a charge of assault against his fellow gang members.

After their release and during the same weekend, the owner of a local pub shot two members of the alleged gang at his premises.

“The conundrum we are sitting with now is that the state has taken over the case of the shooting incident as the owner of the pub handed himself over to the police. This has resulted in the members of the Hosh-Hosh gang becoming victims in this case.

“And as long as other victims do not come forward to make cases, we as the police can do nothing to deal with this gang.”

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