Namibia: Illegal Objects in Police Cells a Burden

1 November 2019

Omuthiyagwiipundi — No matter how often the police intensify its efforts to make sure that no illegal objects are sneaked into prisons, these dangerous items still find their way inside cells.

This is according to Oshikoto police regional commander, Commissioner Armas Shivute.

He made these remarks in relation to the recent incident in Omuthiya in which an inmate stabbed a fellow with a screwdriver in the neck on Saturday morning.

Shivute said the police conduct regular searches every week in which dangerous objects, cellphones and cigarettes, among others are recovered and seized.

Around 19 cellphones are confiscated, plus several sharp objects.

"Finding illegal objects in the police cells is nothing new, it is a trend across the country. How this happens is a mystery. We do search the cells from time to time, but each time we will always find these unwanted things, how they get inside, we don't know," briefly stated Shivute, adding that he regrets the latest incident.

The suspect has been arrested and appeared in the Ondangwa magistrate's court, where his matter was postponed to next year January.

He now faces a charge of attempted murder, in addition to that of house breaking with intent to steal and theft.

He also has two pending cases of robbery and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

There are about 350 awaiting-trial prisoners in Omuthiya holding cells. "We have hard-core criminals who have given up on life, who already know that they will be convicted and sentenced for many years. So these are the ones who orchestrate and commit these types of acts."

The commissioner, could however not rule out the issue of police involvement, when opined.

"A comprehensive investigation into this issue of smuggling prohibited things in cells is underway, and I hope by the end, we will be able to arrest some police officers colluding with these criminals. The investigation will also enable us to pin point how exactly these things are being smuggled and at which point," he stressed.

He, however, hinted that some of these prohibited materials are smuggled during court appearances, as prisoners are transported to and from Omuthiya to Ondangwa. In addition, Shivute said he was happy with his officers, saying they have prevented as many cases as possible.

He cited the recent arrest of an elderly woman who almost sneaked in cigarettes, traditional herbs and a cellphone.

"Thanks to the proactive response of the members, they are trying their best," he commended.

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