The killing of two Caprivians at the Chobe River
The young lions of Caprivi have learnt with great shock and disgust of the killing of yet more Namibians by the seemingly trigger-happy Botswana Defence (BDF).
It is a matter of grave concern that thus far more than 30 Namibians have lost their lives due to alleged poaching activities in Botswana where some are just simple anglers trying to sustain their lives by catching fish in the river. Fishing nets have been confiscated and their canoes were shot leaving them to sink.
We are aware of the military bases along the Chobe River namely the Ngoma, Ihaha and Sedudu Camps near Kasane. All these bases are occupied by the BDF and not the anti-poaching unit personnel.
We therefore request, the Governor of the Caprivi Region to engage with the Namibian Defence Force for a joint border patrol and, at the same time, conservancies should educate the villagers on the risk of poaching. We request the Minister of Defence to reinstate the NDF camps along the boarder from the west to the east of Caprivi to guard Namibian territory.
It is unfortunate that the BDF behaves as if they live on Mars. Do they not know about the historical and linguistic ties between the people of Botswana and Namibia dating back for centuries?
Should Namibia behave the same way in the Caprivi or Omaheke regions by shooting would it be a solution?
It should be put on record that we are law-abiding, and, so too, our villagers, but common sense must also be expected from those tasked to enforce the laws of our free and independent countries.
For example, the two Nakabolelwa residents were not found poaching in the Chobe National Park but were attending to their fishing nets in the Chobe River on the Namibian side. They had two shotguns in their canoe for protection from elephants when coming back home as it was getting dark, which is a normal practice here in Caprivi.
They did not intend invading Botswana or shooting at the BDF, that is why they were running and were shot in the back by the BDF.
It is reasonable therefore to have expected the BDF to arrest them and charge them if they were poachers. Would the BDF have acted the same if the victims were British citizens? We think not.
That is why we view this action by the BDF as the calculated murder and execution of villagers who happen to be black and therefore less important than animals.