Peter Ekandjo – The Jungle Fighter Enduring days of toruture

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After regaining consciousness, I was later taken into a torture chamber where once again Michael and another traitor, Kapere Imbodi from my neighbouring village of Omusheshe, turned up to describe how they knew me.
Kapere told Du Plessis and Neel that he knew me very well since he was born. He was even prepared to go and collect my father from the village if need be. He made the latter remark in Oshiwambo, as he was trying to convince me to cooperate with his masters.

Michael told me that he went through the same beatings and torture soon after his arrest, therefore, I should just cooperate to avoid being killed in the interrogations. On the other hand, Kapere urged me to tell everything I knew, disclose the civilians who had assisted me since I entered Namibia and surrender my weapons.

He further referred to some PLAN fighters who had died after severe beatings because they did not want to cooperate with the interrogators. He was probably referring to an incident where Corporal Smith killed a captured PLAN fighter, Cde Shikongo Mbwalala, after continuous beating. Cde Mbwalala, as I could gather, was a PLAN engineer responsible for blowing up enemy infrastructure and planting land mines on the path of enemy vehicles.

While they were trying to convince me, there were also two black men standing by to serve as translators in Oshiwambo and assist Du Plessis with taking notes. These two black people were Thomas Atjimbanga and Nestor Sheehama (Dice). The two were former PLAN fighters who were either captured while on SWAPO assignments inside Namibia or surrendered to the enemy. These fighters turned enemy collaborators were often present whenever Du Plessis and Neel interrogated me, though they did not take part in the beatings and torture.

There were also two other black soldiers who assisted Du Plessis and Neel whenever Atjimbanga or Sheehama were not in the interrogating room. These were Paulus Uugwanga and Petrus Paulus, also known as Camarada and Jacky, respectively.

The latter was also a PLAN fighter captured in battle in the Okongo area in 1977.
Both Atjimbanga and Paulus (Jacky) were notorious for the cruel way they treated captured PLAN fighters.
My tormentors then covered my head with a wet cloth-like bag before applying electrical shock. They attached electric wires to two of my fingers, ears, genitals, and wrists in order to inflict as much pain as possible. The torture went on for minutes before they lashed me with plastic pipes. They beat me all over the body until I could no longer scream.

I was actually screaming helplessly until I started vomiting, forcing Du Plessis to disconnect the electric wires.
“I have no mercy for a terrorist. You are my enemy and I am your enemy; hence you have no choice but to cooperate with me if you want to live,’’ Du Plessis remarked.

As the beating continued, another white man was pouring ice-cold water on me until I fell unconscious again. The next thing I saw were two white soldiers sitting near my bed in the same room I had occupied earlier.

I had a drip connected to one arm while there was something on my nose to remove blood. I had difficulty breathing and my stomach and the entire body had swollen. White cloths covered my head and left leg. I was not to lift my head at all. I came to realise that I was actually in a hospital environment due to noise emanating from adjacent rooms. The window of that small room was covered with paper to prevent me from looking outside. I remained in that room attended to by a white woman.

She treated me rather well, though my constant screams due to excruciating pain all over my body often irritated her. At one time, the woman remarked that I was lucky to be alive, as some of the captured PLAN fighters died immediately from the beatings. I also heard the two soldiers guarding me asking each other in Afrikaans whether I was really a ‘terrorist’, as claimed.

Another soldier responded saying if I was the ‘terrorist’ who blew up the electricity poles, I was supposed to be killed right away.

While I lay on the bed in underwear only, I decided that come what may, I would not admit that I was a PLAN fighter. I vowed to die without revealing anything to the enemy.

Again, I was taken to the torture chamber where my captors and torturer, Du Plessis started burning my body with cigarette butts, claiming that he had all the necessary power to deal with a ‘terrorist’. Du Plessis, who seemed to enjoy seeing blood flowing and ‘terrorists’ vomiting, as a result of his excessive beatings and torture, was ready to continue with the torturing exercise.

Du Plessis was tall with a flat forehead, flat buttocks, huge body and long feet, and a raised moustache. He was a torturer ready to defend the indefensible system of apartheid in a colonised Namibia.

Since my body had wounds all over, he decided to apply electrical shock. Sick of seeing flowing blood, Du Plessis ordered his assistants to clean the floor and pour water on my body to clean the blood, which oozed all over my body.

He later ordered his assistants to tie me to the same chair before connecting the electric wires on my fingers, ears, and wrists, though this time he spared my genitals.

Du Plessis began the torture before he asked me to confirm whether I was the one who had blown up the electricity poles and where I had hidden my weapons – his usual questions. It, however, seemed he had changed his line of questioning, as he never asked me to confirm whether I was a ‘terrorist’ or not.

As the torturers applied the electrical shock, I felt as if a sharp object was tearing through my flesh; my whole body ached, my tongue felt dry and I felt like urinating but not even a drop came out. Although extremely painful, the electric jolt was less intense compared to earlier shocks.

In his quest for answers, Du Plessis, who was hungry for the truth, closed his eyes as if dozing. Suddenly he jumped off his high chair like a startled rabbit saying he could no longer sit there listening to a SWAPO terrorist’s fictitious stories. He again ordered his two assistants to beat me to a pulp until I collapsed.

No matter how much I screamed, nobody could help me, as the most feared Du Plessis was in charge of both the torture chamber and the detention facility.

Despite the continued torture, I neither confessed that I was a ‘terrorist’ nor admitted that I had weapons; I felt everything was in the hands of my captors to prove me wrong. If at all they had more evidence other than what Michael had told them, then I left them to bring forth such evidence. Two other sergeants, who had seemingly come from the task force, later replaced the two white men who beat me.

These two security agents appeared less interested in the beatings, though Du Plessis later forced them to beat me and apply electrical shock. Although at first these two sergeants simply beat me and applied electrical shock whenever Du Plessis ordered them to do so, they soon joined him, asking me about my weapons and how many people I had killed since I came into Namibia. They later started slapping and pushing me around. One was also fond of squashing and trampling my feet with his boots. My torturers tried all the tricks in the book to squeeze the truth out of me, including scare tactics, but with little success. I was not in the mood to tell my enemy the truth, as I had already decided to die with the absolute truth.

The two sergeants and Du Plessis resorted to a combination of threats and electrical shock instead of beating because I was drenched in blood and my body was terribly swollen because of the severe beating by the previous torturers.
During the evening, my torturers moved me from the torture chamber and placed me against two poles in an open space outside. Du Plessis ordered the sergeants to make me stand with my legs and arms tied around one of the poles.

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