Katima Mulilo — Zambezi regional police commander Commissioner Karel Theron says the second phase of the Kalahari Desert Operation is progressing well in the region.
The police in the region have thus far arrested 171 suspects implicated in various crimes such as stock-theft that is rampant in the region, housebreaking and human trafficking.
About 131 of them were illegal immigrants from Zambia and have already been deported. Several illegal products such as pills, cigarettes, tobacco, lotions, okapi knives, pangas and rifles, as well as stolen cellphones have also been seized in the ongoing joint operation, involving members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF). According to Theron, most of the crimes particularly house-breaking and stock theft are committed by illegal immigrants mainly from neighbouring Zambia.
Theron pointed out that most of the farmers in the Zambezi Region employ Zambian nationals as cattle herders without any documentations. According to him, these illegal immigrants are the ones normally involved in cases of stock theft.
"There is an arrangement that when Zambians come here, they should come with national documents and they will be registered with the person or farmer who wants to employ such citizens, but that arrangement is not being adhered to," explained the regional police commander.
"You will find cattle herders drinking tombo at a shebeen while the cattle is at the cutline between Zambia and Namibia. Cattle herders are not there to do what they are supposed to do, they are there for something else, that's why we have challenges of stock theft, sometimes rape cases - Zambians employed as cattle herders rape our women and girls in Zambezi Region and after they commit the crimes, they run back to Zambia," he alleges.
The commisionrer also stated that human trafficking is also on the increase in the region as underage girls are being trafficked from Zambia to be employed by Namibians, where some go for months without pay.
"Underage girls are brought in by Namibians to work as domestic workers and they don't pay them, then they run to the police station saying so and so brought me in and I did not get a salary up to today. That is the only time we the police come to know that they were human trafficked children," he said.
The regional commissioner further stated that the police in the region will work tirelessly to root out crime in the region. The second phase of Operation Kalahari Desert was launched on the 12 August and is aimed at fighting crime and contribute to national security.