By Staff Reporter
The crime prevention Operation Hornkranz has come to an end and will be replaced by another nationwide police-led Operation KalahariDesert, police Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga said on Tuesday.
President Hage Geingob as the Commander-In-Chief of the Namibian Defence Force launched Operation Hornkranz late in 2018 with the purpose of fighting crime.
The police were joined by the military for the duration of the operation.
The presence of the military in the law enforcement has drawn criticism from human rights and political activists, who questioned whether the military, with the mandate to protect the country’s borders, have any business in law enforcement operations.
The decision to extend the operation under a new name, Ndeitunga said, comes after police successes such as the seizing of illicit drugs of over N$2.6 million and the arrest of 599 suspects for different offences in one month alone.
Ndeitunga said that he is aware of “disturbing reports of alleged brutalities by uniformed personnel” during the operation and that all incidences are being investigated.
The police chief added that about six cases were registered with the police.
“I should state at the very onset that several complaints regarding such allegations were brought to my attention. Obviously, whenever a case is recorded, it has to be investigated and, needless to say, this requires the deployment of resources, to ensure that in the end justice is done,” Ndeitunga said.
Ndeitunga added that the incidents brought to their attention were that some off-duty police officers and soldiers were among the lawbreakers identified during the operation between 27 to 28 April.
“They were operating shebeens refusing to close after the stipulated operating hours and were particularly confrontational with operational teams. We have some law enforcement officials who are obstructing their colleagues in enforcing the law,” Ndeitunga said, adding that such actions are unacceptable and that steps will be taken against officers who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
While he understands that the officials sometimes have to deal with highly intoxicated, unruly and uncooperative people, who, without provocation, are insulting and even assaulting the officers on duty, the law enforcers were there to enforce the law and thus cannot give in to threats and insults of drunken members of the public.
Since there will be other similar crime prevention and law-enforcement operations, Ndeitunga called on the uniformed officers to refrain from the use of unnecessary force and violence and that minimum force be applied lawfully.