Angry mob attacks Swakopmund fire fighters, Namibia
Armed elements of the security cluster in Swakopmund had to intervene with minimum force for a second consecutive night after an unruly mob of Mondesa residents attacked fire fighters at the scene of a shack fire. According to Adri Goosen, the Chief of the Swakopmund Fire Brigade, his men were called to extinguish a shack fire in the DRC informal settlement at around 03h00 on Sunday morning, 9 August 2020. “After we arrived on the scene, we started to fight the fire but soon after the people started getting unruly and aggressive. They started throwing rocks and bottles at us. In the process the window of our fire truck was broken and we made the decision to retreat from the scene,” he said. Chief Goosen added that a fire truck that is kept at a satellite station in the DRC informal settlement area was also ordered back to the main fire station to avoid a situation where further damage could be caused on fire fighting equipment. None of the law enforcement officers or members of the Swakopmund Fire Brigade were injured.
The fire started in the shack occupied by a woman who was asleep at the time. The woman managed to escape to safety but the fire quickly spread to adjacent shacks. The woman, who sustained some burn wounds on her arms, was transported to the Swakopmund State Hospital for emergency medical treatment. She told investigators that she did not use any candles or other items that could have started the fire when she went to bed on Saturday evening.
As a result of the angry mob preventing the Swakopmund Fire Brigade to perform its duties, all the shacks in the backyard were burned to ashes.
According to an incident report provided by the Namibian Police in the Erongo Region, the group of DRC residents became unruly after they blamed the Swakopmund Fire Brigade for being too slow to respond and extinguish the fire.
Nampol confirmed that the situation got out of hand and that the angry mob damaged the fire truck. “The people smashed the vehicles windows and dented the vehicle with the rocks and bottles they threw. Reinforcement was called in and the situation was brought under control,” the report states.
According to Nampol, an investigation has been launched into the incident and that arrests might follow.
No other injuries were reported and an investigation into the actual cause of the devastating fire has been launched.