26 February 2013

Namibia: Tribal Mob Lynches Guard

Muroro — An angry mob lynched a security guard who allegedly shot dead a villager at the Mashare Irrigation Training Centre on Sunday evening.

It is alleged the mob set upon Petrus Nyambali (52) after he allegedly shot and killed Festus Lingwe (29) following an argument on the premises which was presumed to have started at a local cuca shop on Sunday afternoon. Muroro is a village situated 45 kilometres east of Rundu in Mashare Constituency. Nyambali who worked for Shilimela Security Services was handcuffed by his colleagues while waiting for the police to arrive but the mob dragged him from the back of a vehicle and beat and stoned him to death.

When New Era arrived at the premises yesterday, none of the guards was manning the gate, fearing more mob attacks.

Three other security guards spent the night in the Rundu State Hospital on Sunday evening after sustaining minor injuries during the incident.

The three are Daniel Matheus, Theofelus Angula and Lydia Amuladi. Amuladi is seven months pregnant. Speaking from her hospital bed yesterday afternoon Amuladi said the mob just entered the premises and started taunting and hurling insults at Nyambali. "My colleague shot one of the boys in the group and that is when the whole fight started. They took the gun from him and started beating him with stones, sticks and kicking him on the head," she said.

Amuladi said the shotgun was only loaded with one bullet, otherwise the mob might have killed Nyambali with the same weapon. "We were brought by a government car and the police to the hospital last night. Right now we are just waiting for someone to come and pick us up so that we can go back," she said.

Medical staff at the hospital who spoke to New Era yesterday, said the three only sustained minor injuries and that they spent the night in hospital because they had to undergo X-ray scans to determine whether they have any fractures or internal injuries.

Kavango Police Regional Commander, Commissioner Olavi Auanga, said the mob dragged Nyambali out of the car and attacked him. "This is a really cruel scenario, because the guard was already handcuffed waiting for the police to come and arrest him for the murder, therefore the community had no right to take the law into their own hands," said Auanga.

Auanga urged members of the community to come forward with information so that the masterminds of the mob killing can be arrested.

"If someone breaks the law, avoid taking the law into your own hands, rather call the police. We know you do not want criminal activities, but those who take the law into their own hands are as guilty as the suspects," the commissioner said. "You must remember that if there are no witnesses forthcoming, then the police will not be able to know what exactly happened because we were not present," said Auanga.

By midday yesterday an investigation was already underway and some residents had already been rounded up for questioning at the Rundu police station. Yesterday close to 100 members of the small village community were engaged in an anti-Owambo protest calling for all Oshiwambo-speaking people to vacate the area with immediate effect.

Community members held up posters written: "Vambo's out, shuneni oku mwadja (go back where you came from)." Another poster read: "Vambo's out! They are killerz! We are tired plz!" The protest took place at the Mashare Irrigation Training Centre yesterday. Villagers decided to protest after the Oshiwambo-speaking security guard allegedly shot and killed a local on Sunday evening.

"The Owambo people have caused more harm than good in the area. Two of our people were killed, four injured and one threatened since independence," claimed the group. Handing over a petition to the Kavango Regional Governor, Maurus Nekaro, the demonstrating group's spokesperson, Matheus Kashipare, said they "have suffered for long under the hands of the Owambo people."

"We had a meeting last month where we spoke about our grievances and the past incidents that are yet to be attended to, we are tired. We have been suffering for a long time, therefore if nothing is done we will take action," said Kashipare. "The step we have take is the reason why we are here today [Monday]," he said.

"I will study the petition and give you feedback. This is a private company that was hired to maintain security, I cannot withdraw the contract because the company won the tender to protect the government's premises," said Nekaro. He appealed to the community to remain calm for the investigation to proceed smoothly.

"You cannot take action based on past incidents, let the authorities deal with the matter. I know people are looking for jobs, but we should not be tempted to harm the few who are working," said Nekaro.

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