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Fuel smugglers now using hand signals

Ohangwena police regional commander Elizabeth Sibolile says fuel smugglers from Angola have found a new, discreet way of communicating to sell their illegal product.

She says the new tactic, using hand signals, is meant to confuse the police.

“What they do now is they stand in town next to the road and use hand signals to communicate with their customers while hiding the containers somewhere,” Sibolile says.

She says smugglers use their fingers to indicate the number of litres available per container. For example, if they raise five fingers, that means they have a 25-litre container of fuel.

“But we are arresting them. It is just a matter of finding out where they are hiding those containers. We have a joint police operation with Oshana, which is ongoing, and it’s yielding good results,” she says.

Sibolile says the smuggling of fuel at the Oshikango border has been under control since the launch of an operation dubbed ‘Stop Illegal Smuggling and Other Contraband’, which will end this month.

This was a joint operation between Namibia and Angola, which was launched at the common border by police inspector general Joseph Shikongo earlier this year.

“The operation was a success because many people were arrested and charged, and some are in jail now. We have intensified operations to minimise the issue of oil smuggling,” Sibolile says.

Ohangwena police spokesperson sergeant Andreas Nghiyolwa says they are working tirelessly tostop fuel smuggling.

“However, fuel smugglers keep doing their dirty work by finding new ways of smuggling. But we have confiscated a lot of containersof fuel and we arrest them on a daily basis,” he says. Nghiyolwa says crime in the region has decreased.

“We are only recording crimes such as cellphone grabbing, assault through threat, and a few house break-ins. These are petty cases. This is due to the good response by the police,” he says.