Top cop ‘punched’ during Operation Kalahari

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

KHOMAS regional police commander Commissioner Joseph Shikongo was reportedly punched in the face by a member of the public while out on patrol in Katutura with police and armed forces as part of Operation Kalahari.

The incident reportedly took place in the vicinity of Okuryungava, Windhoek about two weeks ago. Shikongo is the second law enforcer said to have been attacked in recent times by a member of the public during the controversial joint police and military operation.

About five weeks ago, a member of the Namibian Defence Force was apparently head-butted by a member of the public. The NDF member was said to have lost consciousness as a result of the blow and fell to the ground, where after the suspect fled the scene.

Asked about the second incident this week, Commissioner Shikongo denied the assault, saying he had not been punched at all and that the person who is said to have punched him actually fought with the officers he was with that day.

However, according to an onlooker, Shikongo was punched in the face before a junior officer came to his defence. Speaking The commissioner said the suspect threw him a punch but he managed to dodge it.

“Not true. I was never, never assaulted in my life and I don’t think anybody will have the courage to assault me. I’m a veteran of the liberation struggle, there is nobody who can assault me. They know me.

“I remember there was a case about two weeks ago when we were in Operation [Kalahari]. I was not in uniform. I had put on my own clothes, where we approached members of the public that were drinking around 2 a.m. and there was one member of the public who was unruly and he was arrested.

“He tried to assault some of my officers but then he was arrested. He was taken to the police station,” he recalled and further confirmed that the officer fought back and that the attacker suffered a slight injury to his eye. He added that the person has since been released from police custody and apologised to the police for his behaviour.

Shikongo urged members of the public to be cooperative when officers of the law ask them to do something. “If they want to ask a question, they should do that in a proper manner but not to assault members of the law enforcement in uniform. Our officers are under instruction to be very professional to the community and we are also requesting the community to be more professional when they are dealing with law enforcement officers. We will not spare any effort of [detaining] somebody who is turning unruly and wants to fight the law enforcement. That will not be accepted,” he cautioned.

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