A Namibian trader died in a car accident after the vehicle she was travelling in was intercepted by the Angolan authorities along the Namibia-Angola border at Onambunga village in Okalongo constituency, in the Omusati region on Tuesday afternoon.
The deceased, who has been identified as Hilma Tashiya Amadhila (44), was thrown out of the vehicle when it overturned. She died at Onandjaba clinic where she was taken for medical attention.
The driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries. The two were allegedly trying to escape from the Angolan police as they were transporting suspected illicit goods.
Omusati regional police spokesperson commissioner Moses Simaho said the Angolan police did not fire any shots at the vehicle.
“The Angolan police did not shoot anyone. The driver was speeding and he lost control of the vehicle,” he said.
According to Simaho, a silver bakkie, which was found transporting 19 plastic containers of suspected smuggled unfiltered fuel and other illicit goods, was travelling from Angola to Namibia. The driver of the vehicle lost control of the vehicle after being intercepted by the Angolan police.
He allegedly fled the scene on foot and went to seek medical treatment at Onandjaba clinic.
“He was later transferred to Oshikuku catholic hospital, where he is admitted in a stable condition,” said Simaho.
Simaho cautioned traders to avoid smuggling goods from Angola through undesignated entry points to avoid paying import duty, because it can lead to unnecessary fatalities.
“We are all going through a lot, but smuggling goods through ungazzetted entry points is not the way. People should avoid smuggling goods. It is painful to lose a life in a such manner. All of this could have been avoided if people obeyed the police regulations put in place,” said Simaho.
According to sources, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, Amadhila was well-known for supplying second-hand clothes bales from Angola. She travelled to Angola frequently to order second-hand clothes bales, which she sold to vendors in Namibia.
“We have lost a fellow bale seller, who died while busy with customer orders at Okalongo,” said one of the sources.
Another second-hand clothes bale supplier said: “The Namibia and Angola border is not easy. If I tell you to wait for your order just be patient. It’s either you lose your bales or I lose my life.”
The second-hand clothes sellers told The Namibian that most of them smuggle goods into Namibia through the porous borders, to avoid Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra) officials at the border, because they are charged a lot of money per bale.
“This is our way of survival. We try to avoid paying import duties at the border because we cannot afford the high charges and we hardly earn enough from our sales. When we get a chance, we smuggle in our goods through the border.
Life is hard and this is the only way for to put bread on the table. We do not want to steal people’s properties and end up in jail,” said one of the bale suppliers. Namra recently announced that second-hand clothing suppliers are required to pay at least N$25 for every kilogramme of second-hand clothes imported into Namibia.
Namra commissioner Sam Shivute said suppliers sometimes pay about N$2 500 in custom duties, while the smuggler make money from every bale that they import illegally through the border, posing a challenge for border patrol.
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –