Eba Kandovazu

NEW details are emerging at the murder inquest of four fishermen, who were killed by Botswana Defence Force (BDF) members on suspicion that they were poachers.

The hearing, which began last week, is being conducted at Kasane. Three Namibian brothers, Tommy Nchindo, Wamunyima Nchindo, Martin Nchindo, and their cousin, Sinvula Munyeme from Zambia, were brutally shot by BDF soldiers last year on 5 November accusing them of being poachers.

Zambezi regional Crime Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Evans Simasiku, today testified that when he arrived in Botswana with the deceased family members to investigate, he was not allowed to take pictures of the deceased by the Botswana police. The family members were also present to identify the slain men.

It was also his testimony that he saw that Tommy Nchindo had a scar on his face. Ernst and Martin Nchindo’s faces were swollen, Simasiku testified. On November 13, 2020, he was in Fracistown to attend the postmortem. At the postmortem the Namibian Police was again denied an opportunity to take pictures, he explained. He also said Sinvula Munyeme had no injuries on the lower part of his body and head, except injuries on the chest

Simasiku also said that the informant in the matter was indeed a Namibian who called from Namibia with a Botswana MASCOM registered number. “This informer is Namibian and the Namibian and Botswana Police took statements from the Namibian informer,” he said.

The Namibian Informer’s name could not be revealed to the court, in accordance with an act that protects informers and whistleblowers, Sinvula Mudabeti, the National Executive Chairperson for Namibian Lives Matter Movement, who is also attending the proceedings told the Windhoek Observer Newspaper.

Mudabeti also said that another Witness, Warrant Officer Mbanga Simonda of the Namibian Police, who is also a diver, testified today that he was one of the divers sent to Botswana to search for the missing weapons allegedly used by the slain fishermen.

“He said the search took two hours and there were no guns found. The search was called off after the Botswana Police said there were hippos in the area,” Mudabeti explains the diver’s testimony. He also adds that a Namibian Pathologist who observed the autopsy would testify today before the last witness, who is from Botswana. The inquest proceedings would thereafter conclude. A Botswana magistrate, Taboka Mopipi, is presiding.

Martin Nchindo was shot four times, Ernst Nchindo was shot five times, Tommy Nchindo was shot five times and Sinvula Munyeme was shot five times, according to the post midterm report.

A Botswana Police officer, at the start of the trial claims three elephant tusks were found at the scene where the men were fatally shot. It has also been alleged that the deceased had guns, although none of this was proven in court.

“The version of Botswana that the slain Nchindo brothers and their cousin had guns is a lie. The guns were not found in the Chobe River where the BDF claims it fell in. The place where BDF claims to have been the point of contact between them and the slain men is also not the actual place because no weapon, no spent cartridges were found,” Mudabeti informs this publication.