9 August 2018

Namibia: Woman 'Salutes' Erongo Police for Swift Action

MONICA Sinden (62) praised the Erongo police for their assistance during her traumatising kidnapping and robbery ordeal, as well as the quick apprehension of the culprits at Walvis Bay last month.

Sinden, who was born at Otjiwarongo and had moved to South Africa, is returning to live in Namibia.

She specifically mentioned detective Veikko Kambabi and the "amazing team" at a car hire company which empathised with her distress, and came to her rescue.

She told The Namibian that she got a taxi from Dunes Mall to the home affairs offices to collect her Namibian passport.

On the way, the taxi driver picked up 'customers', and one of them sat in the back seat.

"We then drove to a secluded area, and the guy in the back grabbed my phone and my backpack. I fought back, and managed to pull myself out of the car with my backpack. They, however, stole my cellphone and jacket. Thankfully not my backpack, and they just sped off!" she exclaimed.

Sinden sought help, and a man working in a new housing area took her to town to look for a car rental company.

"He didn't think that reporting to the police could have any outcome as he knew of many cases of theft. We found one car rental with a vehicle, and he made sure that I was sorted before driving off. I offered him some money, but he wouldn't accept. He was another angel!" she beamed.

At the car rental company, they heard Sinden's story.

"I was in such shock that they offered to drive me to the police station. A young, eloquent man from the car rental company spoke on my behalf, and convinced the police officers that this case could be solved. He encouraged them to get a detective to work on the case," she recalled.

While waiting for the detective to arrive, Sinden was driven to home affairs to get her passport, and returned to the police station.

"The amazing detective, Veikko Kambabi, looked determined to solve this case. He went to work, and allowed us to follow him," she said.

At the Dunes Mall, they looked at video footage, and saw Sinden talking to a car guard (who recommended that the taxi was safe), and saw her climb into the taxi. The guard was questioned, and admitted the facts.

Kambabi went to Natis to get the details of the car owner, and contacted him to find out about the driver, and the search began.

"I was stranded without a phone, so couldn't secure my accommodation. At 22h00 that night, detective Kambabi offered his house to me. His fiancé helped me to settle in, lent me a cellphone, and even put credit on. Another angel!"

They searched through the night for the suspects, and found the taxi driver at about four in the morning. He and his accomplice were arrested.

"They initially denied everything. The car guard was brought in, and he implicated the taxi driver. Further investigations found my stolen jacket in the car boot. They then took the two suspects to look for the buyer of the cellphone. At the buyer's house, they came out with a bag of various other devices," Sinden said.

Erongo crime investigations coordinator Erastus Iikuyu confirmed the case, which happened on 30 July.

He said the suspects robbed Sinden of an Iphone 7 and a designer jacket valued at N$18 500, and after that, they forced her out of the taxi at a deserted place and left her there.

The following day, the taxi driver, Sam Kamati (25), and Petrus Timotheus (35) were arrested, and the taxi impounded. A third suspect, Zimbabwean Silence Chiradza (30), was also arrested, and found with the stolen mobile phone and jacket that he allegedly bought from the other two suspects.

The suspects made their first appearance on a charge of robbery in the Walvis Bay Magistrate's Court, and were denied bail.

Said Kambabi: "I was just doing my job. I love helping people, and felt especially sorry for Sinden. She was crying and afraid, and had nowhere to go. I am glad we could help her," he added.

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