‘Struggle Kids’ Shot – Police Claim Retaliation

THE killing of 26-year-old ‘struggle kid’ Frieda Ndatipo yesterday at the Swapo headquarters was in retaliation, police have claimed.

The police claim was supported by Swapo’s vice president Hage Geingob in parliament yesterday.

Geingob said two police officers were shot in their legs and this prompted them to retaliate, resulting in the death of Ndatipo.

“There are investigations going on about who shot Ndatipo as there were shots from both sides,” said Geingob.

However, no weapons were found on the ‘struggle kids’, and policemen, who were allegedly shot at, were seen by journalists walking around with bandages after treatment.

Ndatipo was part of a crowd of 50 demonstrating “struggle kids” and was shot as they fled the scene after the shooting started. Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga said it was an unfortunate and sad event.

“The incident will be investigated,” he said but did not want to comment further as the police had already submitted their report to Geingob through safety and security minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko.

The shoot-out erupted after the seemingly peaceful crowd of demonstrators allegedly opened fire on the policemen, who were in the process of searching the group for weapons.

Swapo secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba said the ‘struggle kids’ had stones and sticks on them when they were searched.

City Police spokesperson Gerry Shikesho said police had received a tip that the ‘struggle kids’ would come with weapons.

Shikesho said when the “struggle kids” arrived, the police proceeded to search the group for weapons and during this process, the shooting erupted.

“The ‘struggle kids’ shot the police first and that is how the exchange of fire began. Three police officers were wounded by gunshots as a result. We know these kids. They are getting more aggressive. They also robbed a van recently,” said Shikesho, adding that police officers had only opened fire in retaliation. He did not say who ordered the police to shoot, but rubber bullets and tear gas were also used.

The ‘struggle kids’, who are also known as “children of the liberation struggle”, were allegedly demonstrating in the morning when the police opened fire on them.

Onlookers disputed police claims that the struggle kids had weapons and had opened fire first, saying the only weapons the demonstrators had were sticks and stones.

An eyewitness, Sam Natangwe said he is still shocked at what had transpired, “Who knew it would come down to this? They did not even have weapons on them. It could have been me dead today.”

The Namibian was at the scene and observed the body, which was left unattended on the sidewalk, with blood stains on the ground where Ndatipo had fallen face down. A few feet away from where the body lay, a trail of blood could be seen next to a piece of a blood-stained rod.

Group leader Erastus Hedimbi said the deceased had played a fundamental role in the group activities, describing the event as unfortunate.

The deceased wore pink pants, a blue top and shoes. Her half-braided hair stuck out from the sheet that covered her body to conceal it from curious eyes. She had a scarf in Swapo colours and a brown handbag.

Ndamonohenda Indimbwa, who was arrested and taken into police custody, wailed from the car, saying her father was a hero but now, a day after the commemoration of Heroes’ Day, she and others are suffering and are arrested for seeking employment.

The ambulance, which attended to two injured police officers, was parked on the side after which a police vehicle came and took the body to the mortuary.

The mood emanating from the onlookers was a mixture of shock, confusion and vengeance, which worsened when more ‘struggle kids’ came to the scene.

More police, special field force and NDF members also arrived at the scene.

The ‘struggle kids’ who arrived later, some with babies on their backs, threw themselves to the ground wailing, while others yelled and hurled insults at the police officers.

Monica Nambelela, Rally for Democracy and Progress Youth League leader, commented: “Am I dreaming? Did they just shoot dead a child of our fallen heroes? We had the audacity to unveil a statue that says their blood waters our freedom, so the victims can die?”

“Our parents died because of the struggle. What goes for the goose goes for the gander. Pay the ‘struggle kids’, they paid the highest price because they are children of our fallen heroes. It is unacceptable that the State has turned against the people. I never thought I would wake up to this new dawn,” said Nambelela.

Source : The Namibian