Helena Johannes and Andrew Kathindi
The Botswana government has defended its defense force following the killing of the three Namibian brothers, Tommy, Martin and Wamunyima Nchindo, and a Zambian national, last week, Thursday.
The Botswana army’s Colonel Tebo Kacho Dikole, who confirmed the incident stated, “in its mission of defending Botswana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national interests, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) informs the public about an incident between members of the BDF and poachers which resulted in four poachers being killed.”
According to Colonel Dikole, the incident happened at around 23h00 hours in Sedudu area (southern channel of Chobe River), and involved contact with a syndicate of poachers believed to be part of a network responsible for cross border organised poaching.
“The matter has been handed over to relevant investigating agencies. As previously stated, there is an alarming surge of organised poaching for rhinoceros and elephants especially in the Western part of the Country (Okavango Delta and in the Chobe National Park).”
This comes as the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security Frans Kapofi also revealed that the tragic shooting incident which happened at the borders of Namibia and Botswana occurred after one of deceased opened fire on the BDF soldiers.
“From what I heard, it appears one of the fishermen had a rifle, which he used to fire on the Botswana force,” he said.
He said the Namibian Government is yet to be informed fully about what prompted the shooting which has left three Namibian men and one Zambian national dead.
“The Inspector General is in a joint investigation with the Botswana police on what exactly led to the killing,” said Kapofi.
It is alleged that the three victims were shot while fishing in the Chobe River near Impalila and their bodies were taken to Botswana.
Kapofi said the family accompanied by the Namibian Police went to identify the bodies last week.
“It is very regrettable and unfortunate that we have lost lives in such a way. We urge our people not to enter Botswana illegally,” he said.
He added that the government will be addressing the issue with the Botswana government at an appropriate time.
According to media reports, 30 Namibians and at least 22 Zimbabweans have been killed in Botswana antipoaching operations during the last 20 years.