Safety of Namibians will not be compromised – Geingob

By Confidente Reporter

FOLLOWING the fatal shooting of four Namibian fishermen by members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) along the Chobe River last week, President Hage Geingob has assured the nation that their safety and territorial integrity will not be compromised.

It has been reported that the four men were shot whilst allegedly illegally fishing close to Kasika village near Kasane.

The killing sent shockwaves through the country and President Hage Geingob reacted calling for a meeting with the family of the deceased to assure his full support and commitment to bring justice to the homicide.

In a press statement, Geingob said the government took the incident in serious light and relevant agencies were mobilised to shed light with regard to the unfortunate incident.

“The shooting incident by the Botswana Defence Force, in which four Namibians from the same family lost their lives, is deeply regrettable. Prior to my meeting with the bereaved family of the deceased, I had a telephone conversation with Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi to discuss the incident. I assured the bereaved family that this unfortunate incident is receiving the utmost attention it deserves from the relevant authorities in our two countries,” he said.

He added that a joint investigation will also be carried out to continue deepening the current excellent bilateral relations Namibia and Botswana have.

In the same breath, he extended condolences to the bereaved family for their loss.

The statement detailed that Geingob spoke at length with Masisi about the tragic incident and he too had expressed condolences to the bereaved family, and similarly regrets the loss of lives.

According to research, Botswana adopted a shoot-to-kill policy in 2013 as a measure to curb the poaching of its wildlife and over the past two decades. The BDF has reportedly killed Namibians and 22 Zimbabwean nationals under this policy.

In 2018, Masisi ordered the withdrawal of military-grade arms from the country’s anti-poaching units however, the country appeared to have resumed the controversial policy after suspected poachers were gunned down in April last year.

The development to resume the policy came at a time when Botswana had been on the losing end of a protracted battle against poachers who killed 36 rhinos and 11 elephants between April 2018 and December 2019.

Research further shows that, following the disarming of the anti-poaching unit Botswana has been recording unprecedented rise in poaching activities and the rise has resulted in a clash between the Botswana Defence Force and poachers in the Okavango and Chobe areas.

By July 2020, the army said that a total number of poachers killed since the beginning of 2020 stood at 17.