Residents Warned Against Poaching

Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu has implored Namibians involved in nocturnal cross-frontier poaching of buffalo, elephants and a variety of other game – apparently for the pot – in Botswana to refrain from this high-risk illicit activity.

Sampofu warned Zambezi residents to refrain from illegally hunting game in Botswana where seemingly trigger-happy members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) shoot to kill all Namibians they find loitering in their game-rich parks.

The regional governor told residents at a recent meeting that the recent killing of two Namibians and a Zambian national in Botswana by BDF soldiers has been referred to the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation.

The bodies of two Namibians shot dead by overzealous BDF soldiers were recently repatriated to Namibia where they have since been buried.

The Zambian national and the two Namibians were shot dead in a canoe after they were ambushed and allegedly found with elephant tusks.

According to Sampofu, the matter was no longer in his hands and appealed to residents to refrain from poaching in that neighbouring country.

“The matter is with the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation. Central government has taken the issue on that level. I just plead with our people to refrain from poaching activities and not to enter other countries through entry and exit points that are not gazetted,” implored Sampofu.

Details remain sketchy on whether the trio was found with any rifles or posed any danger to the BDF to warrant such action but information obtained indicated the suspects were ambushed by the BDF in a canoe and were found with elephant tusks.

The two Namibians have been identified as 29-year-old Ivan Manyuka and 26-year-old Solomon Tetuko while the Zambian national was named as Chester Mataba, age unknown. It is also understood one other suspect escaped with serious injuries.

Meanwhile, Zambezi residents have bemoaned the perceived lack of action by central government in resolving the matter claiming that many lives are lost each year at the hands of the BDF but nothing is being done about it.

Youth activist Charles Siyauya recently penned an opinion in which he stated, “The people of the Zambezi Region are being killed day and night by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and what is the Namibian government doing about it? Nothing, and the question is why? Or are we not Namibians enough to deserve protection from the Namibian authorities?” questioned Siyauya.

However, Police Regional Commander Commissioner Boniface Mukendwa noted that a joint investigation with the Botswana authorities is expected to resume this week.

“We are expecting a Nampol team from Windhoek that will team up with us here and then travel to Botswana to start a joint investigation,” stated Mukendwa.

Mukendwa noted that the Botswana authorities told their Namibian counterparts that the suspected poachers were found with weapons and elephant tusks and that an investigation would determine whether this was the case.

“I don’t know if any weapons were found with the suspected poachers but that’s the information we got from Botswana. We want to make sure whether this is the case through this investigation,” further stated Mukendwa.

In 2012, a similar incident in which two Namibians lost their lives at the hands of the BDF almost soured relations between citizens of the two countries who had opposing views regarding the manner in which the BDF handles those they suspect of poaching. Many Namibians felt Botswana soldiers are trigger-happy and have no regard for Namibian lives they so randomly take away without due process.

Source : New Era