Namibia: Police, Civilians Fight Over Bar Closure

Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro was yesterday negotiating for the release of 40 people, including schoolchildren, arrested after the Ohamakari commemoration at Okakarara at the weekend.

Hundreds of Ovaherero/Ovambanderu, as well as Nama representatives, attended this year's 114th commemoration of the Battle of Ohamakari, commemorated on 11 August each year.

The Namibian understands that a fight broke out yesterday morning when a police officer was hit on the head with a bottle at one of the local bars.

The police then arrested the alleged assailant and called for back-up to forcefully close all other bars which were open at that time.

As a result of the police bid to close the bars, running battles broke out between the police and some civilians, most of whom were coming from the commemoration.

Some witnesses told The Namibian that the fight affected both women and schoolchildren, who were also allegedly beaten up by the police, and were hospitalised.

The Otjozondjupa police spokesperson Maureen Mbeha could not confirm if any anyone lodged a complaint.

Although Rukoro could not be reached for comment late yesterday, sources told The Namibian that he was by the time of going to press still negotiating for the release of the 40 people.

The Namibian spoke to councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu, who confirmed that a fight took place, but added that it had nothing to do with the commemoration.

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