BDF harasses Namibian visitors
12 May 2021 | Local News
A group of 17 tourists in Namibia were told to “f*** off” by soldiers from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) along the Chobe River in the Zambezi Region while they pointed armed military rifles at them and their two boat skippers.
The incident occurred at about 15:45 on Saturday when two boats from the Chobe Camp River Lodge took tourists out for a boat cruise to view some game. On board were seven South African tourists and 10 Namibians, together with the two skippers.
Zambezi regional crime investigations coordinator, deputy commissioner Evans Simasiku, told Namibian Sun that while on the cruise, the group was called over by three BDF soldiers, and so they stopped near the side of the river.
According to him, they were asked what they were doing in Botswana territory; however, the skippers said they were in Namibia. This resulted in the confrontation, said Simasiku, adding that the soldiers pulled out an AK47.
“They were told to ‘f*** off’ from there by the BDF and the skippers advised the tourists that they should go.”
Simasiku said the incident was only reported to the police on Sunday when the tourists had already left.
Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed the incident, saying thus far he has only received a verbal report and is still waiting on a written account of the incident.
According to him, a senior official was dispatched to conduct interviews; however, the tourists involved had already left. Both skippers were interviewed.
Ndeitunga said while the BDF soldiers claimed that the boats were in Botswana territory, the skippers say they were rightly in Namibia.
“These disputes of views need a proper investigation and a GPS will be needed exactly where the vessel was located.”
He stressed that as neighbouring countries, law enforcers should restrain from showing force to tourists and show them that they are welcome to enjoy and travel the countries.
“Officers at borders should always be friendly and polite to tourists. These are non-violent and peaceful people who are enjoying nature,” he said.
Ndeitunga added that the incident should be handled calmly to find an amicable solution.
Meanwhile, Simasiku said following interviews, a final report has been sent to Ndeitunga for review. He added that GPS coordinates proved that the boats were in Namibia.