Namibia: New Police Operation to Raise Tempo

POLICE inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga says the newly launched crime-fighting initiative 'Operation Kalahari Desert' will tackle crime in a way that 'Operation Hornkranz' was not able to.

Ndeitunga said the just-ended 'Operation Hornkranz 'revealed that there are groups of organised criminals, which the new operation intends to root out by diversifying operational and intelligence strategies against them.

He was speaking at the launch of operation 'Kalahari Desert' in Windhoek on Monday

Said Ndeitunga: "It will not be a stone on top of another stone. Hornkranz could not stop the wave of housebreakings, break-ins at lodges and guest houses, and houses of diplomats. So, there will be increased intelligence to correctly analyse their modus operandi."

The operation will still comprise members of the Namibian Police, Namibian Defence Force, Namibian Correctional Service and Windhoek City Police.

Although Ndeitunga insists that the increased intensity of the new operation is for the increased protection of civilians, Namibians are seemingly not convinced that it will be any different from Hornkranz.

Many Namibians took to social media to denounce the new operation, charging that it will be no different to its predecessor, which was marred by allegations of harassment of the public by law-enforcement agents.

Ndeitunga gave the assurance that the intensification of the operation is not targeted at members of the public.

Denouncing the brutality which marred 'Operation Hornkranz', the police inspector urged uniformed forces to approach citizens with friendliness. He added that the officers should only resort to violence as the last line of defence, and reiterated that they must respect civilians.

"We respect law-abiding citizens. We are there for them, and want them to be free and enjoy life without fear," he stated. Although many people reported that they were assaulted by the police two weeks ago, the inspector general said the brutality associated with the just-ended operation is a far cry from the reality on the ground.

Furthermore, people have also questioned what inspired the name 'Hornkranz'.

Earlier this year, The Namibian reported that the Nama Traditional Leaders Association denounced the naming of 'Operation Hornkranz', saying the code name was insensitive to the Nama people who were affected by the 1893 Hornkranz massacre.

In choosing 'Kalahari Desert,' Ndeitunga explained that the operation is named after a famous desert which houses the San, who were able to live in the arid conditions of no water and poor vegetation. He likened their ability to survive in those harsh conditions to a 'fountain of bravery.'

"Our people, the San people, have lived in the desert, determined to resist whatever naturally comes, and they are still alive," he said. "It represents a bravery to fight all challenges.

Ndeitunga asserted that if there's an inquisition as to who named the operation, the responsibility falls on him.

"They should point the finger at me," he said. "I'm the culprit in this whole thing, and I'm prepared to stand for it."

He added that immigration, the agriculture ministry, the environment ministry as well as the tourism ministry are some of the stakeholders whose help the police-led operation would call upon when the need arises.

The acting head of the Windhoek City Police, Nathaniel Nendongo, welcomed the continuation of the operation.

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