Namibia and Botswana vow to address incidents at borders

10 Sep 2015 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia and Botswana are actively working together to find lasting solutions to continued incidents of harassment and shooting of Namibians by Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldiers.
This was said by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi in a statement issued on Thursday in view of the alleged harassment and shooting of Namibians at the hands of the BDF soldiers.
“The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation wishes to inform members of the public that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, has been in contact with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations of Botswana.
“Moreover, the Government of Namibia remains actively engaged with the Government of Botswana through diplomatic channels with the purpose of finding a lasting solution and in order to avoid the recurrence of similar alleged harassment and shooting incidents in the future,” explained the PS.
Ashipala-Musavyi said that given the proven record of political will between the leaders of the two neighbouring countries, the abiding friendship and cultural affinity between the peoples, “we are confident that a lasting solution shall be found to this vexing problem that has resulted in avoidable deaths of innocent Namibians”.
Nampa reported in June this year that 11 Namibians who had gone to unwind at the Ngoma Bridge on the Namibian side of the border were allegedly threatened by the BDF, who claimed the group was on Botswana territory.
It was further reported that three Namibians suspected of being involved in a botched poaching operation in Botswana’s Chobe National Game Park were arrested by BDF soldiers during the month of May this year.
The three - Beaven Suto Malosi, 36; Kalipile Sidney Malosi, 28; and Mandumbi Muyambango, 29 - came back home in June this year and remain free and have since returned to their respective villages in the Zambezi Region.
They were allegedly part of a group of six men, including a Zambian national, in the illegal hunting expedition.
Three other men – Salomon Maziezi, 26, Iwana Manyuka, 29, and Chester Mataba, a 29-year-old Zambian national - were left dead after they were ambushed by the BDF soldiers along the Chobe River.
According to information provided to Nampa by a relative of one of the deceased men, the alleged illegal poachers had crossed the river into Botswana on 12 May 2015, after which the BDF soldiers were tipped off about their presence.
When the men emerged from the park to board their canoes, the BDF soldiers allegedly ambushed them and found four elephant tusks in their possession.
Beaven, Kalipile and Muyambango managed to escape the ambush. It was, however, not known if the alleged poachers were carrying weapons at the time of the ambush.
The tusks were allegedly poached from elephants in the Chobe Game Park.
The bodies of the deceased men were repatriated from Botswana to Namibia by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on 22 May 2015.