Okahandja five shootingleaves trail of pain

…family members call for justice, national protest set for tomorrow

Family members of the five alleged robbers killed by the police at Okahandja last year say they are still grappling with the impact of the loss of their relatives and their deaths have left indelible scars.

Speaking to The Namibian this week, the sister of one of the robbers, who prefers to remain anonymous, called for justice to be served.

She expressed hope that the upcoming protest would hold all involved police officers accountable for their actions.
The protest, set for Saturday morning in Windhoek, will be led by activists Immanuel Sheefeni and Michael Amushelelo.

“The passing of my brother has left me and my family in deep mourning. We are still grappling with the impact of the loss. Emotionally, it is a challenging period for us and I believe it would be in my best interest to focus on the healing process and support my family during this difficult time.

“This, however, does not mean that we do not have hopes for justice to prevail. We can only trust God,” she said.

The police announced last year that they had killed five individuals at Okahandja for alleged robbery during a police chase.

They were identified as Erikki ‘Akawa’ Martin, Abed Andreas, Marius Ipinge, Malaika Kotokeni and Flavianus Endjala.

Their family members have accused the police of intentionally killing the men under the guise of crime prevention.

Sheefeni emphasised the need for justice, accountability and change within Namibian law enforcement to prevent such incidents from recurring.

“How do we as a nation stand by and sleep at night, knowing that our law enforcers might as well be our murderers? The law needs to take its course and this case needs to reach the highest echelons of the justice system.

“We demand justice for the victims of police brutality and call on the authorities in Namibia to take immediate action to hold the responsible officers accountable. It is essential that steps are taken to ensure that law enforcement officers uphold the law and respect the rights of all individuals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amushelelo accused the police of covering up civilian killings and turning the force into a mafia organisation, with officers acting like hired assassins.

“The Namibian Police force has several cases of police brutality and killing of members of the public. It is now evident that the Namibian Police force has been covering up killings of civilians and the force is now being turned into a mafia organisation with sicarios (hired gunmen) wearing uniforms,” he said.

“My first suspicion was how did six people driving in a vehicle drive past the police roadblock? Secondly, why would City Police officers go outside their jurisdiction? Thirdly, how did the six suspects escape a fire of bullets?

“I knew that this story was not just adding up, the police kept releasing contradictory statements,” he said.

The Namibian Police approved the protest but recently missed their deadline for submitting the docket on their findings regarding the Okahandja 5 shooting to the prosecutor general.

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