Masisi, Geingob discuss Chobe killings

The family of four men shot by the Botswana Defence Force say they were unarmed fishermen and not poachers.

11 November 2020 | International

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



President Hage Geingob yesterday said he and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi have held talks over the controversial killing of three Namibian men and their Zambian cousin along the Chobe River.

The killing, the latest of many, has apparently sparked diplomatic tension between the two neighbouring nations.

Botswana high commissioner to Namibia Batlang Serema yesterday elected not to comment, saying investigations were still ongoing. Geingob yesterday met the family of the slain men at State House and informed them the two countries have agreed to carry out a join investigation into the merciless killings.





Geingob told the grieving family that he has trust in Masisi and that consultations would be ongoing until the investigations were completed.

Geingob said Masisi has expressed his condolences to the bereaved family.

Home affairs minister Frans Kapofi said the family will be allowed to observe the autopsy in Francistown, Botswana. The family was also informed that a State pathologist from Namibia would be travelling to Francistown and would be part of the process.

Prior to the meeting, the family had accused Gaborone of being unapologetic.

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF), which shot the men, this week issued a statement in which it said it will defend it territorial integrity against poachers.

The Namibian family of the four men denied allegations that the deceased were poachers, saying the three brothers and their cousin were fishing and were unarmed.

They were killed last week Thursday while apparently fishing at night.

The deceased have been identified as Tommy Nchindo, Martin Nchindo, Wamunyima Nchindo and their cousin, Sinvula Munyeme.

While the BDF has stuck to its guns and maintains that the quartet were not fishermen but poachers, the family of the deceased insists that the men were killed mercilessly.

Family spokesperson George Nchindo, a brother of the deceased men, said Botswana had not shown any remorse.

“Botswana is not being sympathetic and are not offering any support. They are behaving not like they are humans, but like they are animals,” Nchindo said of the conduct of that government.

Nchindo also claimed that the manner in which the shooting took place was questionable.

“Each one was shot at close range in the head,” Nchindo alleged.

During yesterday's meeting at State House, the family questioned the Namibian government's response to the incident, claiming that more than 30 people have been shot by the BDF in recent years.

The family also wanted to know why the deceased were not been captured and subjected to trial instead of being shot in cold blood.

The family added that the deceased were known to be fishermen by immigration officers operating in the area, and did not have any criminal records.

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