Security forces have been compelled to pay compensation to a mining worker whose arm was broken when he was assaulted in April last year.
The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and Namibian Police have agreed to pay N$250 000 (about N7 million) to a Swakopmund resident as settlement for assault on him.
In a settlement reached in a case in which mining company employee Jesaja Hango was suing the government for N$1 million, it was agreed that the minister of defence would pay Hango N$150 000 on behalf of the NDF, the police would pay him N$100 000, and the government would pay N$100 000 for Hango’s legal costs.
The money is to be paid to Hango’s lawyers, Tjombe-Elago Incorporated, within 90 days, according to the settlement agreement, which was reached on Tuesday.
The practical effect of the agreement is that taxpayers’ money will be used to compensate Hango for the assault carried out on him by members of the security forces.
Hango sued the government after his right arm was broken when, according to him, he was assaulted by members of the NDF and police at Swakopmund on 4 April last year.
He had to undergo surgery because of the fracture of his arm.
The assault took place around 19h00 during a patrol by security force members to enforce the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, which applied at the time.
In a statement filed at the High Court, Hango said he was at his home with a number of friends when a person wearing a military uniform shouted that the gate to his yard had to be opened.
Hango recounted that he opened the gate, and several security force members then stormed into the yard.
He stated that one of the soldiers who entered the yard kicked him. He said he fell to the ground, and was then kicked again by somebody.
“I felt a terrible pain in my right arm as I fell down,” Hango stated.
A statement by a friend of Hango, Epafras Emvula, who was at the scene when the assault took place, was also filed at the court. In the statement, Emvula said he saw a person in a Namibian Navy uniform with a name tag saying “Sylvanus” kick Hango.
Another friend of Hango, Uushona Ileka, said in a statement that after the soldiers and police officers who had entered the yard noticed that Hango had been injured, they took him to a hospital.
The soldiers who remained behind at the scene “came to punish us with push-ups”, Ileka said.
In another statement filed at the court, one of the people who had also been at the scene, Matheus Nghuwilili, recounted that he asked the security force members if the Covid-19 regulations then applicable did not state that only meetings of more than 10 people at a time were not allowed.
A “marine officer” reacted to his remark by slapping him in the face and “demanding where I got such ideas”, Nghuwilili said.
Nghuwilili added that he and others were taken to a police station, where cold water was poured over him and he was punched in the stomach.
He said he fell to the ground and lost consciousness after he had been punched.
In a plea filed with the court in August last year in response to Hango’s lawsuit, it was stated that the government, which was cited as the defendant in the case, was denying that Namibian Police officers or NDF members assaulted Hango while executing their duties on 4 April last year.
Hango was represented by lawyer Norman Tjombe.
Government lawyer Lindrowski Tibinyane represented the government.
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