Namibia: Ndeitunga Remains Unmoved

Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga yesterday said the suspension of 'Operation Kalahari Desert' this coming Sunday was not motivated by mounting public pressure against the operation.

In an interview with The Namibian yesterday, Ndeitunga said the operation would not buckle under any pressure or threats against it.

He instead insisted that the work of the operation is being carried out in phases, with the first phase coming to an end this Sunday.

According to Ndeitunga, the operation's members will, in the coming month, direct their focus towards overseeing the registration of voters for the upcoming national elections.

"We will be back in full force," he said, adding that the operation will not be scrapped.

Calls for the withdrawal of Namibian Defence Force members from the operation have been mounting in the wake of the killing of a 22-year-old Zimbabwean, Fambauone 'Talent' Black.

The People's Litigation Centre (PLC) was the latest organisation to call for the complete withdrawal of soldiers from the operation, citing human rights abuse claims made against the soldiers in the span of the operation's period.

In a statement on Tuesday, the PLC threatened to take legal action against the government should soldiers continue their presence in public by 30 June 2019.

The PLC is a social justice centre which was established this year under the Affirmative Repositioning movement to offer legal assistance to underprivileged members of society.

The centre states that it is committed to a crime-free country, but will not tolerate the blatant abuse of power and unwarranted force meted out against innocent civilians.

"On 24 June 2019, our lawyers received a letter from the government attorney committing that soldiers, as part of this operation, will be removed from the streets on Sunday, 30 June 2019.

"We have asked our lawyers to place the commander-in-chief on terms that should the soldiers not be removed from the streets by Sunday, an urgent application will be launched in the High Court on 1 July 2019," part of the statement reads.

Ndeitunga said the operation is in the interest of the country, and he is not moved by the PLC's protest, adding that the PLC is "not the only party capable of taking another to court".

'Operation Kalahari Desert' started in May, succeeding 'Operation Hornkranz', which was launched in November 2018 by president Hage Geingob.

At its launch, Ndeitunga described 'Operation Kalahari Desert' as a more intensive crime-curbing exercise.

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