Lives Lost "the Aim Was Independence?"

21 Aug 2013 02:30


LIVES LOST ? ?THE AIM WAS INDEPENDENCE? By Maggy Thomas (NAMPA FEATURES SERVICE) WINDHOEK, 21 AUG (NAMPA) - People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) fighters waded through rivers of blood, travelled long journeys and endured hunger and thirst in the fight for the liberation of what is today a free, independent Namibia. Many Namibian sons and daughters sacrificed their precious lives for justice and the determination of nationhood. Monday (26 August) marks 47 years after the first gun was fired at members of the South African Defence Force (SADF) at Omugulugwombashe, which was the scene of the first armed battle in the liberation struggle. While remembering the sacrifices of their beloved sons and daughters, Namibians must equally celebrate and honour their bravery, for ?their blood waters our freedom?. As Namibians are preparing themselves to commemorate Heroes? Day next Monday, Nampa travelled to Ongulungumbe village in the Omusation Region to get first-hand information about a battle at this village, where 12 PLAN fighters lost their lives. Ongulungumbe is situated some 40 kilometres east of Ogongo. The bloody battle took place sometime in August 1987 at Kuku Kaarina Ka Shiimi?s mahangu field at the village. ?Welcome home, I hope your visit is a peaceful one,? said Ka Shiimi as she welcomed the Nampa team into her home before recalling the two-hour battle at Ongulungumbe. The 89-year-old Ka Shiimi?s first memory was the remains of the PLAN fighters, which were scattered all over after the battlefield. ?Their brains were splattered all over,? she recalled. It was 10h00 when the fight broke out between PLAN fighters and the colonial forces. The PLAN fighters were busy eating when the attack occurred. ?I think they (colonial forces) sprayed teargas before they started shooting at the PLAN fighters. The shoot-out took almost two hours. They killed innocent people who were fighting for their own land. They violated dead human bodies when they ran over them with their armoured vehicles (Casspirs). It was a cruel act,? she fumed. She said they just heard gunshots being exchanged. ?When we looked around, it was smoke everywhere,? she narrated. After the battle, the SADF members removed the bodies of the SADF members who had died in the battle, taking them to the helicopters which they used to attack the PLAN fighters from. Ka Shiimi recalled how they then lined up the PLAN fighters? bodies, got into the Casspirs and drove over the bodies. ?The bodies were damaged beyond recognition, and brains were splattered all over the place,? she noted sadly. Immediately after the battle, the villagers dug a grave where they buried the unidentified heroes. In an equally gruesome occurrence the next day, dogs were found eating another body a few metres away from the scene. That PLAN fighter?s remains were also buried immediately, she stated. These graves have since been marked by the Swapo-Party with tombstones inscripted ?A Namibian hero SWAPO/PLAN combatant is resting here. The aim was independence?. These are true sons and daughters of the soil, and unsung heroes of the liberation of Namibia. On the same day, this news agency also travelled to the Onokolo village, some 10 kilometres south of Outapi, where 27 PLAN fighters were killed in cold blood by the South African colonial forces. This group was killed on 02 April 1989, after all parties had agreed to the implementation of the United Nations? (UN) Resolution 435 for Namibia. The UN Security Council Resolution 435, which was adopted on 29 September 1978, facilitated the beginning of Namibia's transition to independence in 1990. The transition period started on 01 April 1989, when the two parties (the South African regime and the Swapo-Party) agreed to abide by a ceasefire, while Swapo in the meantime gave its assurance that it would repatriate only unarmed Namibians to the country. The transition got off to a shaky start because South African forces attacked the unarmed PLAN fighters at the Ondeshifiilwa village in the Ohangwena Region on 01 April 1989, thus killing several unarmed PLAN fighters. At Onokolo, the South African forces killed 27 unarmed PLAN fighters, contrary to the transitional agreement. This killing took place at Oscar Aipumbu?s mahangu field. As with the attack at Ongulungumbe village, this battle also started at around 10h00. ?The PLAN fighters were killed like flies as they had no guns to fight back,? the 80-year-old Aipumbu stated. PLAN fighters? remains were here also scattered all over the field as they were shot while trying to run away. One of the fighters survived the killings after he hid in a ditch located on the edge of the traditional fence (Ongumbu). ?These are legends of the liberation struggle, their blood waters our freedom,? he added. (NAMPA) MMT/AS/TK