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Protest group to act on BDF shootings

Protest group to act on BDF shootings

Zorena Jantze


THE Namibian Lives Matter movement is planning to take government to the High Court for its failure to protect the lives of the people of the Zambezi Region after three Namibian fishermen, and their Zambian cousin, were gunned down by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) along the Chobe River that borders the two countries.


The movement that was formed in the wake of the 5 November 2020 incident is also seeking legal advice to force government to make public the autopsy and investigation reports following the shooting that ended with four bodies.


This was revealed by Sinvula Mudabeti, one of the leaders of the Namibian Lives Matter movement.


Since the fatal shooting of the three brothers, Tommy, 48, Martin, 40, and Wamunyima Nchindo, 36, and their cousin, Sinvula Muyeme, 44, who were all gunned down by the BDF early November along the Chobe River, president Hage Geingob revealed that the report on the shootings has been completed and is currently being studied by government.


Protest BDF shootings Namibian Lives Matter government High Court
RELENTLESS: Sinvula Mudabeti last year at one of the Namibia Lives Matter peaceful demonstrations in the Capital. Photo: Zorena Jantze


The heads of state of Namibia and Botswana also issued a joint statement in which they underscored the deepening bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries and conveyed their commitment to resolving the matter expeditiously and amicably.


“Going forward, an incident-free future is envisaged and desired by both governments and that joint bilateral efforts will be put to play to avert repeat of similar incidents,” the joint statement reads.


Mudabeti, however, insists that albeit promises for an incident-free future between the two countries, BDF recently crossed into the Namibian territory illegally to intimidate and harass Namibians who live along the common border.


Mudabeti reported that on 15 January 2021, at Maunga in the Batubaja area in the Zambezi Region, two BDF military choppers landed with 15 soldiers armed with assault rifles to interrogate community members.


The community members were subsequently informed by a member of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) that they were in Botswana’s territory by 800 meters.


“Ancient boundaries are not determined arbitrarily by a member of NDF who has no knowledge of the area. Why is our government not engaging those that have lived on such land for many years? This is the same way we lost Kasikili Island. Our government does not consult people who live on the land when disputes arise,” Mudabeti criticised.


He added that moving forward, the movement will take government to the High court as well as have criminal cases opened against the soldiers who shot the four fishermen.


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