8 January 2013

Namibia: Garub Shooting Incident Still Unsolved

A VISIT to Garub by tourists to experience Namibia's wild horses on New Year's Eve almost ended in a tragedy when seemingly drunk Namibians fired shots in the tourists' direction.

Although the police claimed not to be aware of the shooting incident, Constable Stephanus of Lüderitz confirmed to The Namibian the incident which he had referred to the police at Aus when it was reported to him.

Paul van de Vendel and Jaco Theunissen who, with their families, visited Namibia during the past December were at Garub, west of Aus to take photos of the area's wild horses.

While they were having a discussion about where to stay for the evening a white Volkswagen Amarok bakkie with a Windhoek registration number arrived at the tourist attraction site, with loud music playing and the people who had been in the bakkie standing with glasses of alcohol outside the car.

Van de Vendel says he requested them to reduce the volume of the music, which was indeed done, but then all hell broke loose when the driver of the Amarok, who was wearing sunglasses, started shouting at the tourists from South Africa.

"He made some racial remarks and told us that the whites are no longer ruling Namibia but that the black people are now in charge. He then pulled out a pistol and shot two shots over us. My six-year-old daughter, who was standing next to me, started crying and we then decided to leave," Van de Vendel told The Namibian from South Africa.

Theunissen also confirmed the event to The Namibian, saying it was the first time that he met the Van de Vendel family and because he had some relatives in Lüderitz he obtained the number of a policeman whom he contacted and informed about the incident.

"A Constable Stephanus told me that he would contact the Aus police as the area falls under the Aus police jurisdiction."

He said they also left Garub and saw the Amarok also leaving the tourist attraction, but later enquired again about the incident from Constable Stephanus who sent him the following SMS-message:

"They found the suspect. I advised them to take them to the station check the license, search the car, arrest the drunk driver and make enquiries about your report. They will contact you soon to double confirm the incident and then they will arrest the culprit who was shooting at your friends."

According to Theunissen he was later again informed by the same policeman that the issue has been solved, but the Aus police never informed him how it was resolved.

Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi confirmed an incident where tourists complained about loud music at Garub, saying the vehicle was later found in Aus.

"The people were confronted about the loud music and being warned by the Aus police. However, the police was not aware of shots fired at Garub and the tourists also did not lay any charges," Kanguatjivi said.

Van de Vendel said they were touring in Namibia for 14 days and the only uncomfortable situation they experienced was the Garub incident, adding that he hoped steps would be taken against the culprits as such people can damage the good name of Namibia.

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