WINDHOEK – Government stands ready to defend the country and its citizens, Information and Communication Technology Minister Joël Kaapanda said yesterday in response to threats made by former Koevoet and SWATF members.
The former pro-colonial fighters held a press conference at Ondangwa, where they issued an avalanche of threats – including insinuations of killing national leaders.
They gave government and the ruling party Swapo until April 1 to respond favourably to a string of issues, including an apology for claims that it was Koevoet that killed nearly 30 people in a bomb attack in a bank at Oshakati in 1988.
The former soldiers and police officers, who fought on the side of apartheid South Africa against pro-independence fighters of Swapo, are also demanding to be paid.
They said if their demands were not met by April, they would ‘put sand in the meal’, an innuendo interpreted by many to mean they will cause chaos in the country.
In an unprecedented manner, the apartheid fighters went on to issue death threats against President Hifikepunye Pohamba and former president Sam Nujoma.
The former soldiers said they would write letters to Pohamba and Nujoma with remarks that “what killed Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is still hungry…”
This is seen to mean that the two national leaders could face a fate similar to that of Gaddafi, who was killed by Western-backed revolutionaries in 2011 in Libya.
Hussein was hanged after American and British troops invaded Iraq in 2003.
Government is not taking the threats lightly, with Kaapanda yesterday saying government will remain “vigilant” in light of such threats.
“Government will remain vigilant to ensure the security of its citizens, and if any threats are encountered, government’s response will be robust and timely,” Kaapanda said in a statement.
The minister further said government will not hesitate to take appropriate measures against whoever attempts to disturb peace in the country.
“The government wishes to remind them that we have forgiven them but not forgotten the atrocities they have perpetrated against innocent Namibians, including the planting of the bomb in Barclays Bank [at] Oshakati,” the outgoing government spokesperson said.
He said the policy of national reconciliation declared upon the country’s independence was meant to create a conducive environment where both warring sides could live in peace and harmony.
Government also condemned that the former Koevoet and SWATF members, under the umbrella of their Namibian War Veterans Trust (Namvet) organisation, laid wreaths on the graves of the Oshakati bomb victims recently.
“This is not only a mere provocation but also an insult to the memories of those who lost their precious lives in this act of barbarity.”
Government has on countless occasions stated that former Koevoet and SWATF members will not receive payments given to the country’s former pro-independence fighters, the majority of whom are Swapo members.
The country’s War Veterans Act states that any sort of compensatory payments will only be received by those who fought for Namibia’s independence and not those who fought against it.