14 Sep 2015 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 14 SEP (NAMPA) - High treason accused John Samboma had played a crucial role in the procurement of weapons from Angola's former rebel movement of Unita (Union of the Total Independence of Angola) in southern parts of that country, the court heard on Monday.
Judgement handed down by High Court Judge Elton Hoff here on Monday in a high treason trial of 65 people, showed that Samboma was one the commanders of the secessionist Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) and was instructed by the top leadership of the Caprivi Liberation Movement (CLM), which was headed by former DTA of Namibia president and Member of Parliament, Mishake Muyongo, to go to neighbouring Angola and purchase weapons of war from Unita, a pro-Western organisation in Angola formed in 1966 by Jonas Savimbi.
According to the ruling, prosecution has presented prima facie evidence that Samboma had met with Unita rebel members on several occasions at a place in the Kwando River area where he exchanged an unspecified amount of diesel for weapons between 1998 and 1999.
Accused John Samboma had been busy moving between Namibia and Zambia, and visited several Unita rebel camps in Angola. He had entered the Unita rebel camps in Angola via Zambia during 1998 and 1999.
John Samboma was also seen at a village on the Namibian side of the border on 30 July 1999 carrying a Russian-made AK-47 assault machine gun (rifle) and other weapons, which he had acquired from Unita rebel members, said the judge, noting that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the CLA commander.
Hoff said there is prima facie evidence that Samboma was the CLA leader who was in charge of a number of secret military training camps the CLA had set up in the former Caprivi Region (now Zambezi) during 1999.
He (Samboma) also played a leading role in the decision that led the 92 alleged CLA members to cross over the Namibian border into neighbouring Botswana with weapons of war.
It was further established that between 1991 and 1999, Samboma was heavily involved in the conspiracy to secede the Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia and had attended a number of clandestine meetings and gatherings where the intention to separate the region from Namibia was discussed.
The 65 accused men are facing 278 charges, including a count of high treason, nine charges of murder and 240 counts of attempted murder in connection with an alleged plot to secede the Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia.
The presentation of judgement continues on Tuesday in the presence of defence lawyers - Patrick Kauta, George Neves, Clive Kavendjii, Profysen Muluti, Jonathan Samukange, Victor Kachaka, Percy McNally and Hennie Kruger.
The prosecution is being represented by Deputy Prosecutor-General Taswald July.
In total, 122 people were arrested and put on trial in connection with the alleged August 1999 Caprivi secession.
However, 14 of the alleged separatists died while awaiting finalisation of the trial and 43 were released on 11 February 2013 after there was no evidence linking them to the trial.
All 122 men were separately charged with taking part in the attacks at Katima Mulilo, or providing support to the so-called CLA.
The accused persons allegedly took part in the bloody attacks on the Katima Mulilo Police Station; the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation's (NBC) regional office; Wenela Border Post; and Mpacha Military Base and Airport on 02 August 1999.
They were said to have been under the leadership of Muyongo.
Muyongo and many other alleged leaders of the CLA fled to neighbouring Botswana before the attacks and after the Namibian security forces discovered their underground movement and tightened security measures in the Caprivi Region.
Muyongo and Mafwe Chief Boniface Mamili are now exiled in Denmark after Namibia pressured Botswana to send them back home to stand trial.
Defence lawyers Kauta, Neves, Kavendjii, Muluti, Samukange, Kachaka, McNally and Kruger - who represented the 43 discharged men - are representing the remaining 65 accused men.
All 65 men remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility (former Windhoek Central Prison)'s holding cells with no option to post bail.
The delivery of the judgement continues on Tuesday.