Notorious robbery gang had serious criminal charges pending in court

Niël Terblanché

The five men who were killed during a shootout with members of the Namibian Police in Okahandja more than a week ago had a total of 24 charges related to serious crimes pending against them.

The Deputy Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Major General Elias Mutota, in an official statement identified the five men who were killed when they started firing on a police vehicle during a high-speed chase through the streets of the garden town.

According to General Mutota, Abed Andreas, also known as Koppe, Flavianus Kaluwepa Endjala, also known as Kalu, Marius Iipinge, also known as Jackie, Malakia Iiyambo Kotokeni, also known as Brown, and Eric Martin Akawa on the evening of 25 April 2023 opened fire on a police vehicle when they discovered that they are being pursued by detectives from the Serious Crime Investigation Sub-Division.

Investigations into the deadly incident as well as the background of the five deceased persons revealed that they had a slew of serious criminal cases pending in the courts after being released on bail repeatedly.

According to General Mutota, these cases range from housebreaking and theft, Armed robbery, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, attempted murder, discharging firearms in municipal areas, illegal dealing in firearms, malicious damage to property, theft out of motor vehicles, displaying fake number plates on vehicles as well as escaping from lawful custody.

The General said that these crimes were committed in Windhoek, Nkurenkuru, Walvis Bay, Tsumeb, Omuthiya, Opuwo, Ongwediva and even the small village of Sesfontein

During the shootout and high-speed car chase, a sixth suspect managed to jump out of the robbery gang’s getaway car and flee into a riverbed.

When he is eventually identified, he will face charges of attempted murder and malicious damage to property.

According to General Mutota, the three police officers involved in the deadly shooting incident, have all been charged with murder.

A clear timeline of events was given in the statement by the Deputy Inspector General.

“On the day officers received intelligence of planned armed robbery by some notorious criminals that would be carried out at a certain farm in the Khomas Region.

The intention of the robbers was diverted to the JS Slot Gambling House in Okahandja,” the statement reads.

The officers responded to the informant’s call and pursued the suspects from the police checkpoint between Windhoek and Okahandja. The robbery gang managed to evade the officers and were later spotted at a gambling house near the Okahandja municipality and the officers gave chase.

It was during this high-speed chase the shootout occurred.

According to the statement, the getaway vehicle eventually came to a standstill near the junction that leads to the Nau Aib location of Okahandja.

“Upon closer inspection, the five men were found still seated in the car. Besides firearms the officers also discovered housebreaking tools, knives and two airguns,” the statement reads.

None of the three police officers sustained any injuries during the firefight with the robbery gang.

General Mutota said that post-mortem procedures and related evidence collection have already been completed.

“However, Further investigations into the cases are still ongoing and this includes forensic investigations on the vehicles, cell phones, firearms involved as well as the items found in the vehicle of the suspects.

This investigation is a gradual process which unfortunately cannot be rushed into as to avoid incomplete facts,” he said.

He urged the public to be patient and to allow the investigation process to continue unhindered.

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