BDF threaten to shoot Namibians at Ngoma

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Katima Mulilo

The harassment of Namibian citizens reportedly at the hands of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldiers continues.
Eleven Namibians who had gone to unwind at the Ngoma bridge on the Namibian side were allegedly threatened by the BDF, who claimed the group was on Botswana territory.

The latest incident of border harassment at the hands of overzealous and trigger-happy BDF soldiers took place yesterday at around 16h00 at Ngoma, a settlement in Namibia.

According to Parac Nyambe, one of the group, they had to run for their lives after being told by BDF soldiers they would be shot should they continue hanging around on the Namibian side of Ngoma bridge. Ngoma residents usually go to the bridge to relax.

The clearly shaken Nyambe said: “We were at the bridge close to a small building that has a pumping machine, which is clearly on the Namibian side.

“The others were far away close to the lay-bys, but the BDF came with guns to tell us we are in Botswana territory. We told them that we were in Namibia and if they did not have knowledge of their boundary, they should consult immigration officers. This angered them and they held up their guns and told us that if we didn’t move, they would shoot us.”

Nyambe said the terrifying incident was reported to the Katima Mulilo police, who instructed the Ngoma police to handle the matter, but no response was forthcoming.

However, an off-duty police officer who witnessed the incident is said to have gone to the Botswana border to report the matter.

The four BDF soldiers were said to have been coming from patrols in the game-rich Chobe National Park, adjacent to the Ngoma bridge, when the drama unfolded.

The encounter lasted over five minutes.

“We saw four soldiers in uniform with guns coming from the park. We thought they were doing their normal patrols, but we were surprised when they approached us demanding we leave the area,” narrated Nyambe.

The Zambezi regional police commander, Commissioner Boniface Mukendwa, said he was not aware of the latest incident, adding that he needed to “consult” as he was caught up with the visit of President Hage Geingob.

Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu said he too was unaware of the infringement.

The Ngoma bridge, which spans the Chobe River, serves as a frontier post between the two countries.
Recently BDF soldiers ransacked makeshift fishing camps of Namibians at Maunga at Kapani in Linyanti, claiming the camps were set up illegally on Botswana territory.

Previously, several Namibians were shot dead by BDF soldiers on suspicion they went into Botswana to poach.

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