Trespassing on military premises illegal: Pinehas

The Acting Chief of Defence, Air Vice Marshal, Martin Pinehas said Section 26 of the Defence Act, prohibits and provides for punitive actions towards any member of the public who illegally trespasses into military premises.

He said farmlands acquired by the Ministry of Defence Force (MOD) are not meant for farming but for defence purposes.

Pinehas made these remarks during a media briefing on Monday at Defence Headquarter in Windhoek after the media has been inundated with reports and insinuations against MOD and Namibian Defence Force (NDF) following recent illegal occupation of Farm Etiro by communal farmers.

This negative reporting is not only tarnishing the NDF but is also painting a wrong picture of the internal security situation, said Pinehas.

He emphasised that Subsection (2) of Section 14 of the Defence Act empowers the Minister of Defence inter-alia to acquire, hire, construct and maintain defence works, ranges, buildings, training areas and land required for defence purposes.

He pointed out the lack training areas adding that the MOD had to resort to acquiring more land to fill that void adding that this is why farms Etiro and Oripoko were acquired.

Pinehas warned communal farmers to refrain from trespassing into military areas saying it is too dangerous.

He added that the community hardly leave military areas once they are given access.

In the past we have allowed communal farmers to graze their animals in our training areas such as Osere-kari and Oshivelo, however, we have come to regret that decision, he noted.

He further pointed out that the invasion of Farm Etiro started way back in March this year and as a result, the population of cattle in the farm swelled to over a thousand with about 30 kraals.

It was then at that point we decided to instruct them to stop trespassing on MOD property and remove their cattle, he said.

Pinehas confirmed that farmers have now removed all their cattle from Farm Etiro which is situated some 20 kilometres East of Karibib in Erongo Region.

Source: Namibia Press Agency