Dukwe refugees come to verify own safety

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Katima Mulilo

As the December 31, 2015, deadline set by Namibia and Botswana for the voluntary repatriation of Namibian refugees in Botswana looms, Namibia has devised another strategy that involves inviting some Dukwe refugees to come and ascertain for themselves the social and political atmosphere prevalent in the country.
Some refugees have been reluctant to come back home citing security fears.

Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu on Saturday called a meeting on with village indunas in whose areas the refugees would visit to see for themselves the prevailing peaceful situation and even meet some refugees already repatriated.

The refugees who number 11 would visit areas such as Kasheshe, Sibbinda, Makanga, Sachona, Linyanti and Liselo among many other areas in western Zambezi.

They are expected to be in the country this whole week until July 7, 2015, when they are expected to return back to the refugee camp to inform other refugees on what they have ascertained on the social and political atmosphere in Namibia.

Apart from refugees on a visit mission, five more refugees would be voluntarily repatriated to Namibia on the same day. They were identified as Chrispin Matengu, Memory Lyonga, Zibiso Nalufu, Hendrick Machana and Tyson Simasiku Mate.

Zambezi Regional Governor confirmed this noting the visit would help debunk misconceptions that have been created that it was not safe for refugees to return to Namibia. “They are coming today (Sunday) at 14h00. They are coming to see for themselves that we have peace in Namibia. This is why I called Indunas (traditional councilors) whose areas would be visited so that they should expect these people on the dates that we have set up,” elaborated the regional governor.

According to Sampofu who visited the refugees in Botswana accompanied by a team from the Ministry of home affairs recently, some refugees appeared reluctant to return citing political reasons.

“Some of them spoke about only coming back home when Namibia gets into a dialogue with Mishake Muyongo and that they should be a referendum in the region. These are issues that have been persistently advocated by the Caprivi Concerned Group. We believe they are getting these influences from this Caprivi Concerned Group. Now they will get a chance to come and see for themselves,” he assured.

Caprivi Concerned Group has in the past stated refugees were UDP members and therefore needed a political solution before they can return back home.

Other efforts aimed at luring refugees back home have been incentives such as money and building materials.
Those arriving are also immediately issued with national documents.

There are over 900 Namibians currently living in the Dukwe Refugee Camp in Botswana. They fled to Botswana following the failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi region from the rest of Namibia in 1999.

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