Namibia security officer charged over fake suitcase bomb

2010-11-23 07:11

Windhoek, Namibia – A Namibian police officer was charged yesterday over the planting of a fake suitcase bomb at the main airport last week in the capital Windhoek, among luggage destined for Germany.

Nehemia Shafuda (51) was charged in the Windhoek Magistrates Court with contravening the aviation and explosives laws of the southwest African country as well as hindering an aircraft.

His case was scheduled for December 9.

Shafuda, who has yet to answer the charges, was given four days to apply for bail.

The Namibian citizen was arrested on Friday, two days after the device was found in the luggage screening area at Hosea Kutako International Airport, among baggage for loading onto an Air Berlin flight to Munich.

He had worked in airport security for at least five years, according to Namibian police.

The motive behind the bogus bomb threat was unknown. Police said Saturday that they were investigating whether the suspect acted alone.

The suitcase contained a detonator wired to batteries and a clock but no explosive material.

Egon Kochanke, Germany’s ambassador in Windhoek, vigorously denied Namibian media reports of German involvement in a security exercise at the airport.

The Namibian foreign minister’s office denied having mentioned any country as playing a role in the airport incident.

A Namibian newspaper had claimed German involvement, citing an unnamed Namibian cabinet member who called Germany’s participation reckless and irresponsible.

“There was no such thing as a German security exercise with a dummy luggage bomb at Hosea Kutako. I want to make that utterly clear,” Kochanke said.

“On the contrary, Germany swiftly contributed to solving the case,” he said.

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