03 May 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 03 MAY (NAMPA) The Cassinga Massacre was a barbaric and brutal attack on innocent and defenceless Namibian refugees, Founding President Sam Nujoma has said.
Nujoma said the South African Defence Force knew that it was a camp that accommodated innocent civilian refugees before the attack on 04 May 1978.
The camp was situated at the Vietnam military base in the Tchetequela village in southern Angola, about 25 kilometres from the Namibian-Angolan border.
The white regime spied very well because they knew about the morning parade (assembly) that was conducted every day at the camp, where the Swapo leaders made sure that a roll call is made to ensure that everyone was around and what their needs were, said Nujoma in an interview with Nampa recently at his farm nea Otavi in the Otjozondjupa Region.
He noted that the enemy first attacked the parade with tear gas that immobilised people, which they then followed up with gun shots and bombs that led to the death of more than 600 people and injury of several others.
At the time, Nujoma was in New York in the United States of America petitioning the Namibian case at the United Nations (UN) headquarters.
I had to leave the UN to come immediately to Angola to see what we can do and rescue the wounded people - most of them children and women.
Nujoma said he immediately discussed the heinous attack with the now late Cuban President Fidel Castro, and about 2 000 children, some as young as five years old, were airlifted to Cuba.
Others were taken to the then German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and various countries in Europe and Africa that could lend a hand.
Most of the children continued with their studies before returning to an independent Namibia in 1990.
This Friday, Namibians from all walks of life are expected to commemorate the day at Heroes Acre in Windhoek.