6 July 2012

Namibia: Cops Nab Bank Robbers

Windhoek — The police have now arrested five people suspected of robbing Standard Bank at Otjinene on Wednesday midday and also recovered a total of N$171 870 of the reported estimated N$215 000 that was stolen from the bank.

The last suspect was apprehended yesterday on the way from Windhoek to aid one of the suspected robbers who was initially at large, but later arrested.

Omaheke Regional Commander Josephat Abel confirmed this to New Era yesterday but could not provide names of the suspects, as they were yet to appear in court.

He however revealed that the suspects hailed from Windhoek and Oshakati.

"These criminals are not new to robberies; they operate as a syndicate and some have outstanding robbery cases," said the regional commander.

Abel said a police officer and one of the suspects were injured in the process of arrest but were in stable condition.

"I am intensifying my operations in the area," he said, adding that he would not tolerate members of his units being injured as in this case where an officer almost lost his teeth.

Abel asked the community to work closely with his office and urged the business community in Otjinene to take the necessary security measures so that they do not fall victim to crime.

The commissioner issued a stern warning that his office would not leave any stone unturned to apprehend would-be robbers, cattle rustlers or other criminals in the region.

"They must rehabilitate themselves or face the consequences," he warned.

He said he would also work with other regions to identify syndicates.

The spate of crimes in Otjinene has been worrying residents of the sleepy town that it may have become a gateway for criminals.

Last year, four men and a woman were arrested for robbing a shebeen of goods worth over N$40 000, while also in May last year, six people were arrested for a case of attempted kidnapping.

The police at Otjinene had to call in help from other units nearby after the group overpowered them and destroyed state property.

In 2010, burglars broke into the post office at Otjinene and stole N$150 000.

Otjinene Regional Councillor, Adolphus Kangootui, complained at the time that security had become a big problem in Otjinene.

He said even though the town was small, there was always potential to make money and "thieves can see that".

He attributed the criminal activities to poor security management and said some businesses hire security guards but then do not pay them for months on end, which leaves the businesses unprotected and vulnerable to all types of crime.

Kangootui said most of the perpetrators of crime were not from Otjinene but did not rule out the possibility of accomplices from his town.

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