A MURDER suspect was ordered to remove her long braids by the Erongo police at Walvis Bay yesterday.
Azaan Madisia, who stands accused of murdering her friend Shannon Wasserfall in April last year, has been sporting long braids every time she appeared in court. This has raised concerns about her safety among members of the community and the police.
Dennis Wasserfall, the uncle of the late Shannon, on Tuesday questioned how Madisia was allowed to have long braids, which he says is a safety concern.
"My concern is that braids can be weapons and one can make a rope with them. Our fear is that we don't know her state of mind and one never knows what goes through her mind. If anything happens to her, the Wasserfalls will never get closure on Shannon's case," said Dennis.
Erongo police unit commander for community affairs chief inspector Ileni Shapumba said the police were also concerned about her safety.
Shapumba explained that Madisia received hair from other women who were taken into police custody with braids. He added that once inside the cells, hair is removed and is exchanged between the inmates. Madisia's hair is also done in police cells by other trial-awaiting female inmates before she appears in court, said Shapumba.
"It is something that we are concerned about and we have already directed her to remove the braids in terms of safety. It is an area of development that the police will look into going forward," added Shapumba.
He said no braids are taken into the police cells from outside. "They are not supplied by the police either and it is not the police that are plaiting her hair. We will work on how to improve the safety mechanisms of inmates in police custody," he added.
Madisia and her brother Steven Mulundu are accused of murdering Wasserfall before burying her in a shallow grave in the dunes behind the Dunes Mall. Her remains were discovered six months after her disappearance on 10 April 2020.