Peter Ekandjo – The Jungle Fighter Operating inside Namibia: Mission to Lüderitz

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My main priority was to create guerrilla units in the urban centres of Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Grootfontein, Ondangwa, Oshakati, Lüderitz; and other areas were to be added to the list as the operation progressed. However, in the interim, I needed a strong supporting network and facility agents to enable me to operate in a secure environment. I had visited Oshakati and Ondangwa garrison towns by then and was familiar with the security environment there though not completely.

However, I had not visited Oshivelo, or other towns in the southern part of Namibia. The nearest area I had visited before was Omuthiya village where I passed through in 1981 with enemy military trucks in hot pursuit. All the areas east of Omuthiya were new to me. Therefore, I needed someone who would help me familiarise myself with the areas.

During the third week of February 1985, I took the first trip to Lüderitz by train. Nanyemba from Odiyamande village accompanied me. Nanyemba was the principal of Odiyamande Combined School and an active supporter of the liberation movement, SWAPO.

We set off from Ondangwa and boarded a minibus to Grootfontein, where Nanyemba introduced me to some of his acquaintances before we boarded a train to Lüderitz after spending a day in Grootfontein. That historic journey took us almost two days, as the train was terribly slow.

It was my first time to travel by train, therefore I was exhausted by the time we got to Lüderitz. We went straight to the house of Nyanyemba’s aunt where I was introduced to the owner of the house, Aina, a SWAPO activist running away from the ‘Boers’ in the north.

He urged his aunt not to tell anyone about my connection to SWAPO. Instead, he advised her to tell her neighbours and friends that I was there looking for work. He further asked Aina if she could accommodate me for a few days to allow the situation to improve before I could return to the north. Nanyemba left for Ovamboland after two days, leaving me behind to continue with my assignment.

Nanyemba’s departure posed another challenge for me, as I was required to work harder to set up a support network of individuals who would in the end, be either turned into facility agents or recruited into urban guerrilla units in the town.

It took me only one week before I made new friends. Most of these friends turned out to be potential targets for development, recruitment and training to become members of the urban guerrilla formations in that area. Some of these people had shown a desire to fight for the liberation of Namibia, therefore they had become easy targets for recruitment into the urban units. They did not know that I was a PLAN fighter, though they later realised that I was in full support of the liberation struggle.

For the entire month that I was in Lüderitz I managed to develop at least five people, who according to my analysis and judgment, could be nurtured further before recruitment on my second visit to the town.

There were two people who displayed militant attitudes. They told me that they would like to go into exile to receive weapons to fight the colonial system. However, tactically, I discouraged them from thinking of leaving the country because one could get the necessary weapons without necessarily having to go into exile.

My main objective was to delay their decision to go into exile, as I wanted to study them more before coming up with a concrete proposal of arming them. These two individuals had become targets of my future cultivation and eventual training.

However, since I did not want to rush into doing things, I decided to undertake a thorough study of these potential candidates’ backgrounds regarding their involvement in the liberation struggle and also to ascertain whether they had ever collaborated with the enemy of our movement. Since it was nearly time for my meeting with Cde Mupupa, I decided to leave Lüderitz late March 1985. I used the train again on my return journey.

I boarded the train up to Grootfontein where I took a minibus, which dropped me off between Ondangwa and Ongwediva. Because I had numerous bicycles placed at various strategic places, I went straight to the house of David along the main road where I collected my bicycle and rode to the Namibia-Angola border.

I had a meeting with Cde Mupupa on 5 April 1985 at the homestead of Shimbode, north of Oyihole in the Cunene Province of Angola. I arrived there in the afternoon and found a message from Cde Mupupa saying he was in the area waiting for me to arrive. It appeared he had hidden himself in the nearby bush to see my arrival, as he was not sure whether I was the same person or I was already arrested by the enemy security forces.

The South African security forces had intensified patrols in Oyihole and areas south of the Cunene Province of Angola, hence the need for vigilance at all times. As I was leaving the homestead, I saw Cde Mupupa walking towards me.

After exchanging camaraderie greetings, we moved into the bush and stayed there until late evening when we went back to Kambode’s homestead. We had all-night briefings, as we wanted to finish our discussion while it was safe to do so. Cde Mupupa briefed me over the security situation in Angola and also informed me about the expectations of the leadership at the Provisional Headquarters in Lubango. I also briefed him on the progress I had made in fulfilling my assignment and discussed the best strategies to mitigate operational obstacles, which I experienced since we last met in December 1984. I left for Namibia the following morning to continue with my assignment.

* The book is available at the Book Den near Polytechnic of Namibia in Windhoek, Etunda filling station in Otavi, Omuthiya filling station, Okapana filling station in Ondangwa, Highway filling station (Selector) Ongwediva, Spar Shop Ongwediva, Book of Namibia in Ondangwa, Oshakati and Outapi, Hosea Kutako International Airport and at Bush War Publication in Durban South Africa.

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