Former Koevoet soldiers petition UN, demand funds

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Windhoek

Former members of the notorious counter-insugency unit Koevoet and SWATF (South West Africa Territorial Force) soldiers have petitioned the United Nations (UN), demanding funds and legal assistance to enable them to present their case to the UN in New York.

In the petition handed to UN resident coordinator Kiki Gbeho last week the group’s representative, Willem Beukes, requested an unspecified amount of money, saying the funds are needed to enable them to travel to New York to present the case of discrimination against them as allegedly perpetuated by the Swapo-led government.
“We, the SWATF/Koevoet families, oppressed by the Swapo-led government appeal to the UN Office of the Legal Affairs for funds and legal assistance to go and talk in person with the legal officer in New York about the problem we face in an independent Namibia,” read their petition, dated November 26.

“We cannot afford the funds, because of the socio-economic sanctions, marginalisation, intimidation and discrimination imposed on us,” they stated in the petition addressed to the UN.
A copy of the petition was also delivered to the French, German, British, and United States embassies, appealing to the UN to call the Swapo-led government to order. “We believe we have also contributed to the peace and stability, which Namibians currently enjoy, as they (former Koevoet and SWATF soldiers) remained patient and never demanded what was due to them for the past 24 years,” it reads.

The group also complained of the exclusion of their members from the Veterans’ Ministry in 2008, saying their SWATF pension fund was shared with their former rivals (PLAN fighters), but that they are now discriminated against when it comes to war veteran status. “The Swapo-led government’s unconstitutional political practise of marginalisation, discrimination, unjustified socio-economic sanctions imposed upon the ex-SWATF/Koevoet families and friends must be legally forced to come to an abrupt political end,” the petition further reads.

Koevoet was a paramilitary-trained police counter-insurgency unit during the former South African regime’s illegal occupation of Namibia. Koevoet, led by the late Hans Dreyer, was notorious for committing acts of extreme brutality against Namibian civilians.

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