Grenade Explodes in Swakop Residential Area

AN M59 rifle-grenade of Yugoslavian origin exploded in a residential area in Swakopmund on Saturday, seriously injuring one person and leading to the arrest of the house owner on a charge of illegal possession and storage of military weapons.

The grenade exploded while a worker, Chantelle Gaoseb (23), was cleaning out a garage at 21 Monotoka Street in Swakopmund’s Ocean View suburb. She was removing the contents of the garage when the granade fell from the box she was carrying and exploded.

Erongo regional acting crime investigations coordinator Erastus Iikuyu confirmed the blast, and the injury as well as the arrest of the owner of the property.

“This is a military explosive and should not be in the hands of civilians. It is very dangerous, and this incident shows why it is so dangerous,” Iikuyu said.

People on the scene told The Namibian that shrapnel tore into Gaoseb’s lower body, ripping off flesh from the bones, some of which are said to have fractured.

She was transferred to Windhoek Central Hospital and, although it could not be confirmed, indications were that one or both of her legs will have to be amputated.

The blast also shattered some windows of the house and left blood stains on the ground and wall.

The owner of the house (and the grenade) was also hit by shrapnel in the left side of the chest but he was discharged from hospital on Saturday, thereafter was taken in by the police for questioning and eventually arrested on a charge under the Explosives Act. He will appear in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court today.

The street was cordoned off and security was managed by the Swakopmund Neighbourhood Watch while the police bomb squad used sniffer dogs to search for other explosives.

The bomb squad, which was part of the presidential entourage while he was at the coast for a series of events, had to turn around while they were on their way back to Windhoek on Saturday. No other explosives were found.

Suggestions were that the 39-year-old owner allegedly makes ashtrays from old bombshells and was not aware that there was a live unit in his stock.

Source : The Namibian