Oshakati — Police in the Oshana Region have arrested nine men who masqueraded as police officers and allegedly robbed the Oshakati Guest House.
One of the suspects is a police constable implicated in supplying police uniforms to the arrested impersonators. The suspects, dressed as police officers, also robbed several other unsuspecting businesses, it is alleged.
The constable was recently transferred from Ohangwena Region to the Oshana Region and all the suspects, aged between 29 and 39, were arrested in Oshakati and Ondangwa.
Dressed in genuine Namibian Police Force (Nampol) uniforms of blue, and camouflage, the gang approached the Oshakati Guest House on September 26 and claimed they were sent by Oshana Police Commissioner, Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa, to remove cash for safekeeping since it was being targeted by criminals.
The suspects are charged with extortion, theft and plotting to impersonate policemen.
Briefing the media on the breakthrough in the case, Kashihakumwa said the police found the uniforms, a Chinese made walky-talky, a police appointment certificate, reflective police jackets, a docket, boots as well as caps at a flat in Oshikango location in Oshakati west on Sunday. The police say the police appointment certificate the criminals used seem to be a fake used to convince people that they were members of the force.
Kashihakumwa said the latest robbery attempt is similar to the Ongwediva Nampost Branch robbery, when thieves stole N$7 000 a month ago. Two suspects, including the branch manager, were arrested shortly after the incident, while the police in the Oshana Region promised to arrest the remaining suspects and recover the stolen cash.
Two suspects also wearing police uniform entered the post office pretending to be Anti-Corruption Commission investigators looking for counterfeit money.
Kashihakumwa said since that robbery the police launched a thorough investigation to bring the suspects to book.
However, while the police were investigating the crime committed at Ongwediva, in a separate incident on September 26, suspected robbers using the same modus operandi attempted to take money from the Oshakati Guest House under false pretences.
The suspects, one in the normal blue police uniform and the others in camouflage uniform, carrying handcuffs, a radio and a docket approached the reception desk at the guest house.
The men identified themselves as police officers and said they had been instructed by Kashihakumwa to remove money from the business for safekeeping since it was targeted by thieves from Windhoek.
At some point, the receptionist, suspecting foul play alerted the security guard who started to question the bogus policemen.
When the suspects realised that they were about to be exposed they decided to flee the scene. Since a report of the incident reached the police too late, the suspects managed to evade capture.