Namibia: Armed Mob 'Steals' Covid-19 Body From Mortuary

25 September 2020

A MOB of Congolese nationals at Osire refugee camp near Otjiwarongo allegedly broke into a mortuary and stole the body of their compatriot to bury it according to their own tradition.

According to Otjizondjupa regional crime investigations coordinator deputy commissioner Naukalemo Andreas, the incident took place in broad daylight at the refugee camp's clinic last Sunday.

Andreas says Samuel Kabwe died on 15 September after he was hospitalised at Otjiwarongo State Hospital.

After his death, Andreas says, the body was swabbed and the results came out as positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

Kabwe's family was informed of the results, but denies that he died of Covid-19.

They refused that his burial be carried out by the Ministry of Health and Social Services as per government protocols.

"They locked the gate of the clinic so that the vehicle, which they assumed was transporting the body to the grave, could not leave. They were armed with hoes. They released it later after they were told the body was not in the vehicle," Andreas says.

She says while some of the group locked the gate, others broke into the mortuary and took the body.

They carried it to the camp's cemetery where they buried it.

Those who were in contact with the body have been put in quarantine, while the individuals who broke into the mortuary are awaiting arrest on charges of damaging property and theft.

According to government regulations the burial of any person whose death is attributed to Covid-19 must be carried out by the state.

"Only an authorised person must be allowed to have custody and control of the deceased's body," regulations state.

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