Chief Appeals for Border Patrols

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK Chief Ben Ngombara of the Khwe tribe, the area where Friday’s mysterious shooting took place, has appealed for the intensification of security patrols in the areas bordering neighbouring Angola to ensure that no lives are lost to unknown assailants. Last Friday morning, one person died after two vehicles travelling separately came under automatic fire in a scene reminiscent of the deadly attacks that occurred along the Trans-Caprivi Highway shortly after security forces subdued a short-lived rebellion. The brief uprising on August 2, 1999 was at the instigation of former DTA leader Mishake Muyongo who wants to secede Caprivi from the rest of the country. In a brief interview, the chief who contacted New Era on Sunday night said Special Field Force (SFF) members together with Namibian Defence Force (NDF) soldiers should be deployed along the area bordering Angola and only patrol the Namibian side of the border, while their Angolan counterparts should patrol their own side. Ngombara said in as much as he wants the local security forces to safeguard lives in the area and along the highway that some six years ago was a hotbed of deadly attacks, he does not want his subjects to be harassed as this could trigger another Dukwe exodus. He was referring to a similar exodus in hundreds of his subjects and even his predecessor the late Kippie George who cited harassment from the security sweeps. The chief said he was told by a person who visited the scene of the shooting that some footprints where detected from the area of the attack heading northwards to Angola. “They should not harass the people like in 2000 when the Khwe fled to Dukwe (in Botswana). If they harass villagers they will definitely run to Botswana,” he said. The chief also verified the other piece of information, saying the life of Friday’s victim could have been saved if the driver of the Toyota Corolla had heeded a warning from another driver whose vehicle was fired upon. By yesterday no one had yet been arrested though the police were still continuing with their investigations. Though there is strong suspicion the attacks could be the work of secessionist remnants, the Regional Police Commander for Caprivi, Chief Inspector Kampolo is adamant this could be a banditry act with the motive to rob motorists. It also appears that unknown secessionist sympathizers could have reached certain communities in the area under Mafwe Chief George Simasiku Mamili as he recently reiterated his earlier warnings against subversive activities. He felt if these elements are allowed to mislead villagers with their illicit activities they might cause them untold suffering at the hands of local security forces as before. New Era also understands the latest shooting along the highway has caused panic among travellers using that road to Caprivi and to Zambia, Botswana and even to Zimbabwe.