Police in the Oshikoto region are facing accusations of assault after both the elderly mother and a sister of a deceased Namibian Defence Force soldier were beaten by a police officer shortly after his funeral at Omuthiya over the weekend.
It is alleged that police officers were summoned to defuse a family dispute over the estate of late Samuel Thomas (57), who died in a Windhoek hospital on 5 October and was buried at Omuthiya on Saturday.
The feud, which started immediately after the funeral, was between Thomas' mother and siblings on the one hand and his widow Hileni Iihuhua on the other.
Victoria Kornelius, Thomas' sister and a medical intern in Windhoek, said the police were summoned and arrived at her 87-year-old mother's homestead at 22h00, but when she questioned them she was allegedly told to shut up and was smacked across the face by a female officer.
Her mother, Rosalia Shipena, who was seated a few metres away, stood up and asked the officer why she had slapped Kornelius, but she too was allegedly smacked twice across the face by the same officer.
"I emerged from the bathroom only to see an officer slapping my mother, so hard that she almost fell to the ground," said Martin Kornelius, a Windhoek-based police inspector.
He said the situation became tense as anger at the assault of the two family women grew against the police. "I suggested we rather go to the police station and solve the problem there before the situation got out of hand. But when we arrived at the station the offending officer disappeared. I demanded to know her force number and her name, but her colleagues refused to reveal the details I demanded. We then demanded to open a case, but they refused, rather telling us to return the next morning. I demanded to see their commanders, but they gave me contact numbers of officers who were on leave. All these tricks were attempts to cover up and protect a wayward member whose actions tarnish the good name of the Namibian Police. Such individuals need to be dealt with as individuals to stop them in their tracks before they give the police a bad name," he said.
"What happened to my mother was really shocking. Imagine an elderly mother being beaten up the same day she buried her firstborn," said Hanna Abraham, one of Shipena's daughters.
The elderly Shipena was still at the Omuthiya Police Station late yesterday afternoon trying to open a case of assault.
Victoria Kornelius, who is back at her duty station in Windhoek, said she was not going to open a case. "I initially contemplated opening a case of assault, but changed my mind because my cheek is not swollen and is no longer paining. Besides, I am now back in Windhoek while the case ought to be opened at Omuthiya," she said.
Police spokesperson chief inspector Edna Nawa refused to comment yesterday, only saying that cases involving police officers were dealt with internally.