Rundu — After the Rundu police drew public condemnation for their failure to avert a massacre that literally took place under their noses, the Kavango East police crime investigations coordinator has appealed to the public not to lose confidence in the force.
Kavango East Police Deputy Commissioner Bonifatius Kanyetu has pleaded with Ndama and Kavango residents in particular not to lose trust in the police, saying the public's mutual cooperation is highly needed for law enforcement officers in the region to maintain law and order.
Since the Ndama massacre in which five people were bludgeoned to death, reportedly by an enraged dagga-puffing relative, the police have been accused of incompetence and negligence by the nation at large that called for heads to roll to stem ineptitude in the force.
"If any officer will be found guilty of negligence in the case that we are investigating action will be taken as we are taking it seriously, but for now we are just investigating the allegations," Kanyetu said.
"From the scene we also started investigating the allegations that the public are making against the police - the outcomes will be made public. Our investigations are underway - when we are done we will be able to speak," he assured members of the public.
Kanyetu told New Era the police's internal investigations also cover who filmed an unauthorised interview with the Ndama murder accused in the cells, which went viral on social media.
Kanyetu noted that the video in which the young man is being forced to answer questions might not have been taken by his officers, saying someone probably smuggled a cellphone into the cell.
In the video the boy appeared intimidated and frightened and his human rights were being violated - the police are not allowed to do that nor the public.
The voice of the interviewer is heard in the background.
Kanyetu urged residents to always have good relations with their neighbours whereby they help and look out for each other and their properties. "People are hearing what is going on but they are just sitting there without assisting their neighbours. At the moment I'm happy that since the Ndama incident everyone is coming on board to assist the police, giving us advice on how we should go about to avoid this thing happening again. Although some are coming with negativity, the majority are very positive," said the deputy commissioner.
"If we can work together we can go far in achieving a common goal - the community mustn't lose faith in the police. Even though we were hit hard we will still achieve peace in our communities. We have to take the positive and negative criticism to make a difference and that will bring us somewhere. We have to stand up now especially on drugs. A lot of parents have already surrendered substances they found in their children's possession. They are coming out, this is a learning curve. Parents must report strange activities of their children so that the police can investigate," he said.
Ndama location, located south of the Trans-Zambezi Highway, is one of Rundu's high crime areas and it is not electrified nor has it got a police substation. The location is also notorious for having youth gangs that use drugs and attack and rob people, especially at night.