Walvis Bay businessman survives brutal attack by poachers

Niël Terblanché

A dramatic confrontation with a gang of poachers left well-known Walvis Bay businessman Steven Louw fighting for his life last week.

The incident, which occurred on Thursday, took place on his farm on the C14 road between Walvis Bay and Windhoek.

The incident has shaken the local farming community and raised serious concerns about enforcing bail conditions for known poachers.

Louw, who is also a farmer, encountered the poachers after spotting them illegally hunting on his property.

In an attempt to apprehend the criminals, Louw pursued the poachers in his vehicle.

Joachim Cranz, a fellow farmer, reported that during the chase, the poachers began dumping oryx carcasses from their vehicle, which had been illegally hunted on Louw’s farm.

The chase culminated in a violent confrontation when Louw managed to force the poachers off the road. During the chase, Louw collided with the poachers’ vehicle at a section of the C14 highway that was under construction. His vehicle was thrown off the road, leaving him vulnerable.

As they attempted to flee on foot, the poachers picked up rocks and viciously attacked Louw, who again confronted them.

The poaching gang struck him several times on the head and body with rocks.

Fortunately, a bus full of tourists arrived at the scene. Their presence likely saved Louw’s life, as the poachers fled, abandoning their attack. The tourists witnessed the assault and called for help, allowing the authorities to respond swiftly.

The police later captured two of the poachers, who had taken refuge in the nearby hills.

They were charged with attempted murder, trespassing, and illegal hunting. Among the evidence recovered was a hunting rifle, traced back to Herman Elveritz, another notorious poacher still at large.

The vehicle used by the poachers was identified as belonging to Walter Hoeseb, known among law enforcement as “Lekkerlag.”

The incident has put the spotlight on issues within the legal system, particularly concerning the enforcement of bail conditions.

Fanie Uirab, identified as the main suspect in the attack, had recently been released on bail by the Rehoboth Magistrate’s Court.

Despite being required to report daily to the Mondesa Police Station in Swakopmund, Uirab had not complied since the day of the attack on Louw.

Cranz expressed the farming community’s frustration, noting that Uirab and his accomplice, Derick Brockeroff, have a history of poaching and have repeatedly appeared in court for similar offences.

“The farming community is troubled by the apparent ease with which these individuals obtain bail and subsequently evade law enforcement,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, head of the Namibian Police’s Public Relations Division, confirmed the arrest of two suspects.

They face multiple charges, including malicious damage to property, trespassing, illegal hunting, attempted murder, and violations of the Nature Conservation Act of 1975.

The suspects were caught with three oryx carcasses and had damaged the farm’s fence to gain entry.

Shikwambi assured the public that the police are working diligently to apprehend the remaining suspects and prevent further poaching activities.

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