Man allegedly shot dead by anti-poaching unit in Zambezi had no external wound

Martin Endjala

A post-mortem conducted by Katima Mulilo Forensic Police on the late Lubinda Samupwa who was allegedly shot dead by officials in the ministry of Environment anti-poaching unit in Zambezi region, shows that he had no external wound.

The late Samupwa was found dead 7 April 2024 at Nkasa Rupara in the Zambezi region.

The Namibians Lives Matter Movement in the region then started accusing ministry officials of killing Samupwa, after they were told by an alleged witness that he was shot by the anti-poaching unit officials.

However, Zambezi Regional Commander Commissioner Andreas Shilelo, told Observer Namibia yesterday that post-mortem indicated that the cause of death was caused by drowning, and the body had no external wound.

The group is demanding the arrest of the people who are involved be charged for murder as well as for the suspension of the Commander of the patrol team of the anti-poaching unit who allowed his officers to open fire at an innocent and unarmed Namibian man.

They are also demanding that an independent, fair, and impartial investigation be carried out to determine the cause of death and for an official report to be released.

National Executive Chairperson for the Namibians Lives Matter Movement, Simvula Mudabeti, said the deceased was with other two fishermen when they encountered the anti-poaching unit, and two of them jumped into the water swamp but one came out of the water and surrendered. The two men who surrendered were instructed to walk towards the anti-poaching unit officials and if they run they will be shot, they then complied.

“One of them told the officials that his other friend did not come out of the water, and then requested the officials to get his friend but they refused. Another officer asked his colleague, who discharged his firearm if he indeed shot in the air because he saw something like a person in the water. The officer who shot maintained that he indeed shot in the air and thus there was no need to search for the body of the missing person,” narrated Mudabeti.

The two survivors, Mudabeti said, went home and informed elders of what transpired. The elders then went to the Sangwali Police Station to request the police to accompany them to the scene and retrieve the body of their missing relative, but the police refused.

The next morning the police went to the scene with members of the community and found the body of Samupwa, which had already started to decompose.

One of the community members, Bashupi Maloboka, told this publication that he is disheartened to see people trying to make ends meet with natural resources provided by the national park, to fall captives and shot dead by anti-poaching units.

“The line ministry needs to start valuing our lives more than animals, and find amicable ways to live in harmony,” said Maloboka.

He explained that permits to enter the park are obtained at Katima Mulilo which is 130 kilometers away for an ordinary person, hence they are more tempted to go into the park for ends meet without permits.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, did not respond to questions sent to him nor did he return calls.

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