21 September 2017

Namibia: Police Raid Traumatises Keetmans Family

A Keetmanshoop man says his wife and three-year-old daughter were traumatised after a police raid on his flat two weeks ago in their search for stock theft suspects.

Cervantes van Neel (29) said five police officers who were plain-clothed, but armed with rifles, broke the door of his flat on the morning of 4 September.

He claimed that some of the officers kicked and slapped him.

He said when he asked who they were, the officers allegedly told him they were "busy with an operation".

"I overheard one of them telling someone over the phone that it is the wrong guy," said Van Neel.

The raid on the flat, which was carried out a few minutes after Van Neel arrived home from night shift, bore no fruit.

He immediately went to the police station to lay a charge against the officers, and realised that the men were members of the police's special reserve force.

He said a senior police officer told him that he was unfortunately "at the wrong place at the wrong time".

"If you are not happy, come and see me tomorrow," Van Neel said the senior police officer insisted.

A medical report seen by The Namibian states that Van Neel sustained bruises to his body. He said he now experiences chronic chest pains following the assault by the police officers.

"I had the Linx system (a bracelet-like device that sits around a muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus and helps to ease heartburn and chest pains) implanted some years ago. I believe it might have been damaged during the attack, causing the chest pains I am experiencing," said Van Neel who opened a case of assault and malicious damage to property against his assailants.

"Due to financial limitations, I have not yet fixed the flat's door broken by the officers," he said, adding that he also instructed his lawyers to institute a civil suit against the police.

//Karas police commissioner Rudolf Isaak yesterday confirmed the police raid on the flat.

He conceded that Van Neel was not one of the suspects. Isaak said Van Neel's allegations of malicious damage to property and assault were being investigated, and a docket containing charges against the implicated officers was sent to the prosecutor general for a decision to prosecute.

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