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Oshakati bomb blast off the annual calendar

Oshakati bomb blast off the annual calendar

Placido Hilukilwa

THE commemoration of the First National Bank (FNB) bomb blast that takes place annually on 19 February is off the calendar.

 

The annual event commemorates a bomb blast in the FNB branch at Oshakati that killed approximately 30 people and injured many more on 19 February 1988.

 

The event is hosted yearly by the FNB and is normally attended by survivors, relatives of the victims and interested members of the community. It is addressed by prominent political and religious leaders.

 

People started asking questions when it failed to take place last year and once again failed to materialize this year.

 

FNB’s Tomas Koneka Iindji said that the bank is no longer hosting the event, but did not explain why.

 

Oshakati bomb blast calendar fnb
Pictured: Solemn ceremonies were held in the past to commemorate the victims of the bomb blast. – Photo: Contributed

 

Immediately after the blast, the then liberation movement Swapo and the then security forces traded accusations, each accusing the other of having planted the explosive.

 

Swapo secret operative Leonard Sheehama was arrested and arraigned before the court in connection with the blast, but his case was discontinued when the Namibia Peace Plan 435 was implemented in April 1989.

 

Sheehama, who served a jail term in connection with another blast in Walvis Bay, was released from prison after independence in 1990 and was welcomed as a hero. He died years later.

 

Speaking during the last commemorative event in 2018, Bishop V.V. Nambala of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) discouraged the hosting of the event saying the Cassinga Day already includes all the victims of all bomb blast incidents.

 

Reading from a long list, Nambala mentioned over 1,000 incidents in which people died or were wounded in bomb blasts during the 23-year war of national liberation.