Investigations into BDF killings yet to commence

Clifton Movirongo

It has emerged that the investigation into the fatal shooting of four unarmed Namibian fishermen by the Botswana Defence Forces (BDF) will only begin next week on 17 November 2020, 11 days after the incident occurred.

NamPol Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed to the Windhoek Observer that the joint investigations regarding the killings will only start week.

On November 5 along the Chobe River which flows between Namibia and Botswana, the BDF shot and killed four unarmed fishermen who they alleged were poachers. The soldiers opened fire at close range, killing three brothers and their cousin.

Ndeitunga said a team of Namibian investigators will leave on Friday and while the bodies of the deceased which are currently in Botswana, are expected to be repatriated next week.

“We estimate by that time the investigations would be concluded and if not then their stay will be extended. But hopefully by next week the bodies will be repatriated,” said the chief of the Namibian Police.

Quizzed on why the investigations have taken long to resume, Ndeitunga said,” Because we had to make arrangements for the team to go Botswana. People have to be tested, permission must be requested from the other side and logistical provisions need to be made.”

He added that the Botswana government is currently busy with autopsies of the deceased.

Meanwhile the Inspector General said he had no issue with the planned demonstrations against the killings as long as they are peaceful and the demonstrators to abide by the law.

He, however, refused to comment on the statement released by the Office the Presidency concerning the planned demonstrations.

The Office of the Presidency issued a statement on Thursday labelling the planned demonstrations as “pointless and wholly misplaced”.

Presidential Press Secretary, Alfredo Hengari offered his opinion that the family should be allowed to mourn without unwarranted politicization of the incident.

“Lives that have been lost should not be used for political gain,” he said.

With regards to the request for assistance by the family to bury the deceased, he said, “President Geingob informed the family that the Prime Minister would consider the request favourably. The bereaved Nchindo family continues to express appreciation to President Geingob for the audience and his resolve to deal with the matter.”

Permanent Secretary of the Republic of Botswana, Andrew Sesinyl, a statement issued on Thursday said, “The two Heads of State have expressed their full commitment to resolve this issue in an expeditious and amicable manner”.

“To this effect, and in the spirit of good neighbourliness, the two Governments have agreed to undertake a joint investigation with a view to determine and address the circumstances that resulted in the incident.”

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