According to a witness, taxi driver Lebeus Wambili (31) and his girlfriend, Ndilimeke Mwalengelwange, were driving behind him.
“Just before 19:00 I told Wambili I was driving home as it was getting late, and he agreed to drive right behind me. On our way home a police vehicle approached me from the front and stopped my car, while Wambili continued along his path home. While one of the officers searched my vehicle, one leapt out of the vehicle and fired two shots at Wambili, bringing his vehicle to an abrupt standstill,” he claims.
He says the police simply continued searching his vehicle after the shooting.
“They continued searching my vehicle and found nothing. At the same time community members who heard the shooting gathered at the scene, but the police warned them not to go to the taxi.
“The crowd, however, became wild and eventually managed to get to the vehicle. That was when we saw one of the occupants, the driver, was shot dead through the back [of the vehicle], and the girlfriend was injured after also being shot through the back,” the witness claims.
He says community members managed to get the injured passenger out of the vehicle and rushed her to the Engela State Hospital.
Mwalengelwange was later transferred to the Oshakati State Hospital where she is said to be in a critical condition.
Ohangwena police spokesperson inspector Abner Iitumba confirmed the incident, but referred all queries to the headquarters of the Namibian Police in Windhoek.
National police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi confirmed the incident, and described it as unfortunate.
“It is a regrettable shooting incident indeed. Our crime prevention members were patrolling the area and spotted a Corolla with Oshakati registration number coming from the borders. The officers fired shots, of which one unfortunately hit the driver, who died on the spot, and wounding the passenger, who is hospitalised in a serious condition,” Shikwambi says.
She says Wambili was found to have been smuggling boxes of chickens from Angola.
Pavo Paulus, Wambili’s brother, has, however, refuted this.
“My brother was not a criminal. He and his girlfriend run a small business on the side of the border, where they stock up with food items such as chickens every now and then.
“They were coming from their business and were not running away or speeding. The police just shot at them.
“Since when is it illegal to carry chickens? We are aware that whisky, cigarette and fuel smuggling is illegal, and my brother was not involved in that. This was pure negligence,” Paulus says.