Erna #Ouses, who is seven months pregnant, is accusing a young constable, named Chauks Beukes, of assaulting her in the prison cells at the Khorixas police station in the early hours of 30 May.
#Ouses (23), Jostofine Hannes (29) and Adraain #Ouses were arrested the previous day for allegedly assaulting a police officer and for resisting arrest, charges the trio say were concocted as a pretext for arresting them.
According to #Ouses and Jostofine, a sickly old man, Herman Bosman, was arrested by the police after a woman, known as Bambo, told them that the man had sworn at her. Dozens of residents went up to the police asking them why they were pushing the elderly man around. Standing next to the police Jostofine asked what the elderly man had done to be arrested. Jostofine was told to go to the police station if she wanted to know about the case.
“I followed the police to the station with my children and was busy on my phone outside when the police told me: ‘Come in. You were the one talking too much,’” related Jostofine. The police are said to have pushed Jostofine into the charge office.
Erna #Ouses also went to the station after being told by another resident that her in-law, Jostofine, had gone there. When Erna arrived at the station the police identified her as one of the people who had been talking too much and then handcuffed the pregnant woman.
While in the charge office the woman named Bambo came to the station and asked the police to release Bosman as it was a joke which lead to his arrest. Bosman was released and went back home. “Yes it was a joke and I told the police to release the man,” Bambo confirmed.
Pregnant Erna, as well as Jostofine and another woman, named Minna, however remained handcuffed at the Khorixas charge office for about five hours before being taken to the holding cells. “One of the three police officers was dancing while taking us to the prison cells,” Erna and Jostofine related.
While they were sleeping that night several police officers came into the cell, kicking on the cell doors, while shouting and swearing. A policeman, identified as Beukes, rolled a blanket up into a compact ball and pushed the pregnant around woman before throwing the blanket at her. “The police threw me with the blanket. He made it round and he kept pushing me backwards. What if I had a miscarriage?’ asked the expectant woman.
Insiders report that the police also wet the women’s blankets. The police reportedly also assaulted Adraain, the youth arrested with Jostofine and Erna. He was taken outside where they allegedly beat him up.
Beukes, came back early in the morning to ask “How did you ladies wake up?” and when told that he had assaulted a pregnant woman, he replied “Eeh, it was a short woman. Was it you?” The pregnant woman and Adraain were later taken to the charge office where officers demanded they reveal the names of residents who have a bad attitude towards the police, but they told the police that they did not know the names.
Station Commander Hiskia Nuuyoma is aware of the assault, according to #Ouses. When asked about the allegations against him, Beukes said “I don’t know what you are talking about. It is not true.”
The pregnant woman has since laid charges against Beukes and the Head of Internal Investigation in the Kunene region, Martha Shambo, has taken up the case. Shambo was in Khorixas on Monday to question the pregnant woman, who maintains that she was assaulted by the police.
Clemans Miyanicwe is freelance community