West African stowaways thrown overboard - (The Namibian, 31/10) At Swakopmundthree stowaways who survived days at sea after being thrown overboard from a Chinese vessel were picked up south of Walvis Bay on Sunday. A fourth stowaway allegedly drowned. Papa Kay August (29) from Ghana was spotted in the sea off the coast from the air by Atlantic Aviation on Saturday. He was rescued by a vessel called Western Jupiter. August told his rescuers that his fellow stowaways were on a nearby island. Pleasure Flights assisted Atlantic Aviation with the search and the remaining two stowaways were spotted on Holms Bird island near Meob Bay, some 150 km south of Walvis Bay. Michael Appiah (24) from Ghana and Junitor Geay Moseroy (17) from Liberia were rescued by a Government helicopter and flown to Walvis Bay where they were admitted to hospital. Apparently the four boarded a Chinese vessel, the Rouohe Rong Cheang, at the Free Port of Monrovia on October 11. They were discovered on the ship eight days later by the captain who threw them overboard with a raft. The fourth person, whose name is not known, apparently drowned when he fell off the raft. The remaining three spent about a week on the island before being spotted and rescued at the weekend. All three have been released from hospital and are being kept at the Narraville Police station. Their case has been handed over to Immigration Control. An immigration tribunal will be held to confirm their countries of origin before they are deported.
Home Affairs minister charged with contempt of court (The Namibian, 30/10) - Charges that Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo has been in contempt of court for more than a week by flouting a High Court order for the immediate release of a Rundu businessman are set to come to a head on November 10. The fate of Rundu guest house and restaurant owner Jose Domingos Sikunda, targeted for deportation for allegedly being a Unita collaborator, and of Ekandjo, targeted for contempt of court proceedings because of Sikunda's continued detention, will be argued in the High Court on Friday next week. Sikunda has remained in detention at Sarasungu near Rundu since October 17 despite an order for his immediate release issued by Acting High Court Judge John Manyarara last Tuesday (October 24). Lawyers Dave Smuts, appearing for Sikunda's son, Ngeve Raphael Sikunda, and senior counsel Theo Frank, for Government and the Home Affairs Minister, yesterday agreed that Acting Judge Harold Levy could issue an interim order requiring Ekandjo to show next Friday why he should not be convicted of contempt of court and sentenced for it. Smuts indicated to Acting Judge Levy that he will ask the Judge not to give any attention to the statements and evidence filed in support of Ekandjo's attempts to justify the detention and intended deportation of Sikunda until Ekandjo had complied with last week's "unequivocal, immediate" order for Sikunda's release. Smuts charged that the Minister "is riding roughshod" over Sikunda's right to liberty by holding him in custody without trial." "The Minister, who has clearly shown a dislike of court orders, must first obey the court order (for Sikunda's release) before he can enter into the fray," Smuts said." "We're dealing with the chief law enforcement officer who's in contempt," he commented. Ekandjo, as a representative of Government, had to purge himself of that contempt before he could continue to defend the case against Government, Smuts stated. As on Friday, when contempt of court proceedings against Ekandjo were started in the High Court, Acting Judge Levy yesterday again emphasised that Ekandjo had to be given a chance to state his side of the case before the court could decide whether he was in contempt." "It's a fundamental principle of our law that a person is presumed to be innocent until found guilty, and I'm not going to be the one who changes that," Acting Judge Levy commented. He also remarked to Smuts that Sikunda might well be a dangerous man if Ekandjo's statement on the allegations against him was taken into account, "so how can I order his release? "Smuts responded that Acting Judge Levy did not have to order Sikunda's release; that was something another court had already done. He was asking Acting Judge Levy to issue an order "calling on the Minister to come to court and explain why he's not obeying the orders of this court", Smuts stated. Acting Judge Levy also issued an order directing Government to allow Sikunda's lawyers to have access to their client. If necessary, Sikunda should be transported to Windhoek so that his lawyers could consult with him in preparation for next Friday's hearing, he ordered. Sikunda may in the mean time not be deported until the case in which his release and stay of deportation is sought had been completed to the stage of an appeal having been exhausted, it was ordered. In the case of three fellow detainees of Sikunda who were released on Friday, Acting Judge Levy confirmed the High Court order issued last Wednesday which restrained Government from deporting Herculano Jornal Satchanga, Paulo Kashonga Mendes and Bartolomeu Sangueve. Frank was assisted by Matti Asino of the Office of the Government Attorney. Government Attorney Vicki Erenstein ya Toivo is instructing them on behalf of Government. Smuts acted with Rudi Cohrssen, on the instructions of Evert Gous of the law firm Theunissen, Louw & Partners.
Angolan refugee population reaches 15,000 at the renewed border conflict (Sapa-AFP, 28/10, Rundu, Namibia) - A combined offensive by Angolan and Namibian troops against Angolan rebels along the border with northeastern Namibia appears to have been largely successful, but small bands of rebels continue to raid border villages for food, and civilians are still falling victim to landmines. At least 70 people, mostly civilians, are reported to have been killed in the fighting since December, and local doctor Yuri Yangasov told AFP he had performed 94 major and 134 minor amputations. Namibian security forces shot dead at least four rebels last Tuesday. Lukas Haufiku, a co-operative worker, told AFP a Namibian patrol surprised 10 members of the rebel National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (Unita) at Shitemo, 90km east of Rundu, the biggest border town in the northeast. They killed one rebel during a brief firefight, Haufiku said, and in a follow-up raid into Angola, shot dead three more, including a former Shitemo co-op worker. "We knew him as Mandela," Haufiku said. But the focus of the Angolan troops' offensive has now moved to the border with Zambia, military sources said, and only a few Angolan soldiers can still be seen along the Namibian border. Namibian state radio on Thursday announced the situation along the 500km-long northeastern border was back to normal. Continuing security sweeps along the border targeting Unita sympathisers have meanwhile led to charges of widespread human rights abuses. Several landmine explosions have been reported in the area over the past two weeks, the most recent on Monday in the Rundu township of Kahemu. Another anti-personnel landmine was found last Sunday at Nyondo, 60km east of Rundu, while a Kxoe (Bushman) youth, Kosmasi Kativa, lost his leg to a landmine at Mutjiku, 210km east of Rundu, on 13 October. Kxoe chief Thadeus Cheddau said a cow was also maimed by a landmine a few days later. "The soldiers came and fired their guns into the ground until another bomb (landmine) exploded," Cheddau told AFP. Namibia's refugee population has also risen sharply to about 15 000 people, up from 2 300 before the Angolan offensive. UN World Food Programme officials estimate this will increase to 27 000 refugees next year. More than 720 refugees have crossed the Namibian-Angola border and applied for asylum in October alone, local UN refugee official Jimmy Mbdenla said. - Sapa-AFP
Citizens face deportation after assisting Angolan rebels (The Namibian, 25/10, Windhoek)- Four Namibian citizens arrested in Kavango last week for alleged links to Unita have been declared persone non grata and are to be expelled from Namibia, Mikka Asino of the Ministry of Home Affairs said yesterday. But the Government decision was dealt a major blow last night when the son of Rundu businessman, Jose Domingos Sikunda, one of the four facing expulsion, succeeded in having the High Court order the release of his father. Sikunda, Marcellus Martins, Paulo Mendes, Herculano Journal and Bartolomeus Sangeve were arrested at their homes on Tuesday night last week because of suspected links to Unita. Martins was released the following day. Asino said Sikunda, his fellow detainees and dozens of other people were found to be a threat to national security and arrested under the Immigration Act, which provides for detention without trial. Said Asino: "They are arrested to be deported.The manner in which they are going to be deported is what is going to be determined." He said Government would initiate consultations with the United Nations about how they would be "removed" from Namibia, because they were also arrested in accordance with the TIN Security Councils sanctions on Unita.
The immediate release of the Angolan-bom Jose Domingo Sikunda was ordered by Acting Judge John Manyarara shortly before 1 9h00 yesterday after he had been addressed by lawyers acting for Government and for Sikundas son, Ngeve Raphael Sikunda, in an urgent application in the High Court in Windhoek. Rudi Cohrssen, who acted for Sikunda Jr, and Matti Asino of the Office of the Government Attorney, who acted for Government, argued on whether Sikunda Sr is a Namibian citizen or a resident of the country and whether he could be declared a prohibited immigrant and be deported under the Immigration Control Act. Sikunda, who owns a restaurant and guest house at Rundu, was arrested together with four other men at the border town last Tuesday. Since his arrest he has not been brought before a court or charged and, except for one visit of a few minutes by his son, his family has not been allowed to see him since then, Cohrssen told Acting Judge Manyarara. Since the start of his detention, though, a letter from Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo to Sikunda has come to his familys attention, prompting them to approach the High Court on an urgent basis yesterday. In the letter Ekandjo told Sikunda he had been declared persona non grata in Namibia and that his removal was being ordered because "it has been established that your activities and presence in the Republic of Namibia endanger the security of the state". Cohrssen questioned the legality of Ekandjos decision, pointing out that Sikunda had lived in Namibia since 1975 and had a Namibian identity document. Cohrssen told the court that the section of the Immigration Control Act which gives the Minister the power to declare a person a prohibited immigrant and to order their removal from Namibia did not apply to Namibian citizens or people lawfully resident in the country for longer than two years. No information on what Sikunda was being accused of was placed before the court. Asino stated though that Sikunda was "not just an ordinary person" and was arrested after information had been received and placed before the Security Commission, which then recommended his removal from Namibia to Ekandjo.
The Government lawyer strenuously opposed the granting of an interim order for Sikundas release as he stressed that the Rundu resident had been declared a security threat to Namibia. He told the court that the Home Affairs Ministry had been in contact with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees over Sikundas fate and has undertaken not to return him to Angola. Asino insisted that Namibian citizens or long-time lawful residents of the country were not excluded from the Immigration Control Acts provision that allowed for the expulsion of prohibited immigrants. To this, Cohrssen responded: "I do not think any Constitutional state would allow its Ministers to eject its own citizens from the country." No state of emergency had been declared in the north-east of Namibia to justify extreme measures such as the treatment of Sikunda, he said. Acting Judge Manyarara was at pains to make it clear that the order he was issuing was an interim interdict and could be discharged when Sikundas case return to court on November 10 if the court was shown then that the order had not been correct. In terms of the order the Government was directed to immediately release Sikunda. The declaration of him as a prohibited immigrant and order to have him removed from Namibia were set aside and Government was further ordered to desist from harassing Sikunda.
Namibian security forces accused of torture of Angolans (Sapa-AFP, 24/10, Rundu)- Namibian and Angolan security forces have rounded up hundreds of people along their joint Kavango River border in a month-old joint sweep designed to crack down on Angolan rebels, local sources and human rights activists say. They accuse the Namibian security forces of carrying out illegal detentions and torturing prisoners. Namibian police refuse to confirm or deny the existence of Operation Eagle, and insist that torture of detainees is forbidden. But for the 150 000 residents of the northeastern Namibian town of Rundu, close to the river, the experience has clearly been a tough one. Josef Shindjukwe, 28, a former handyman, told AFP he was arrested last month on false charges of owning an illegal gun. He said he had a woollen bag pulled over his head, after which he was beaten for several hours by members of Namibia's paramilitary Special Field Force, and bound with plastic ties for three days. His forearms show scars. Over the next 10 days, Shindjukwe said, he and other prisoners were beaten regularly. He said they were refused medical treatment, and that he now suffers from deafness in one ear as a result of his beatings. "They call you out, then one (policeman) each take a leg and your arm while one pushes down on your nose and mouth," he told AFP. "Then they all beat you, with sjamboks (whips), sticks, the fist, the boot, anything they can find. They often also strangle you when you scream too loud." Shindjukwe said he was released after a policeman he knew intervened in his case. The Namibian police would not confirm or deny his arrest. Shindjukwe described the immigration cells as small cages each holding up to 100 people, women and children included. The Angolan province of Cuando Cubango across the Kavango River has been nominally under the control of Jonas Savimbi's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) guerrillas since 1975, when they sought refuge there from the pursuing Angolan army. The area had been largely spared the heavy fighting that has killed about 500 000 people elsewhere in Angola, displaced 2.7 million and ruined the mineral-rich country. But following the collapse of the 1994 Lusaka peace agreement, the Namibian government has been applying an increasingly hard line against Unita, culminating late last year in Namibian forces joining the fight to eliminate Unita from the area along the Kavango river. Many local residents are openly supportive of Unita's political cause, like 63-year-old Domingos Sekunda. On Tuesday last week, his house was surrounded by a large number of police and paramilitary forces who the family knew to be Angolans, Sekunda's oldest son Luciano told AFP. His father had been living in Namibia for the past 27 years, and was a naturalised Namibian citizen, he said. "When we asked the police on what charges they were holding him, I was told it was because he did not publicly renounce Unita," said Raphael Sekunda, another son. Nightly raids on houses throughout the Rundu townships were a common occurrence, he added, estimating that "thousands" of people had been rounded up. "My father is an old man, and he is sick with high blood pressure and diabetes but they will not let us take him some medicine," Raphael Sekunda said. And although any suspect is supposed to be officially charged within 48 hours of arrest, this did not happen in their father's case, the brothers said. "My father was never in the (Unita) military, but he believes in the cause. Now he is going to be judged by his political enemies." Shindjukwe said many people were removed from the detention camp cells during his 10-day stay, with the women apparently moved to a UN-run camp while the men were deported to Angola. Phil ya Nangoloh of the (Namibian) National Society for Human Rights said the men are handed over to the Angolan interior ministry, whereafter their fate is unknown. "The Angolans are not exactly known for taking too many prisoners of war," Ya Nangoloh said of the 25-year-old conflict.
Namibian with links to Angolan rebels arrested (The Namibian, 19/10)- At least five Namibians of Angolan origin were arrested at their homes at Rundu on Tuesday night as the authorities sought out people with suspected links to Unita. Relatives of two of the men said yesterday that the Police would not tell them where their loved ones had been taken. The Police have also refused to take medicine for the sick among the group. The five were arrested by more than 10 well-armed cops in a convoy of more than six vehicles. Among those detained is Jose Domingos Sekunda who has in the past made no secret of his political support for Jonas Savimbi's rebel Unita movement. The others are Marcellus Martins, Paulo Mendes, Herculano Journal and Bartolomeus Sangeve. Relatives of Martins and Mendes said they had no links with Unita. The families of the others could not be reached for comment. Police Regional Commander in the Kavango, Chief Inspector Olavi Auanga, yesterday said "an operation" was conducted, but would not comment further. A Police source in Kavango said the men were arrested on orders "from Windhoek", but added that the arrests were "sensitive". A daughter of Paulo Mendes said: "The Police don't even want to take the medicine which my father got from the hospital yesterday. We don't mind if they are investigating something, but they should at least tell us where they [detainees] are. "One of the relatives said a senior Police officer had boasted they would "remove these people from Namibia". The latest detentions have left Namibians of Angolan descent at Rundu fearing more night-time arrests. "The people are [living] in fear now. Although they have done nothing wrong the threat of arrest is there all the time," said a relative of Martins. The houses of some of those arrested were allegedly searched a few weeks ago but the Police came up "with nothing". Martins, who suffers from gout, was released yesterday afternoon after the Police told him they received "wrong information" about him, said a source. Relatives say Martins was not told why he was arrested. "We just fear that they will come with wrong information again," said one of his children. The child said the Police asked his father where he was born, what he does for a living and to which church he belongs. The same group of men were detained for three days in 1997 because of alleged links to Unita. They all appear to have come to Namibia at the start of the Angolan civil war in 1975. The remaining four men are being held at Sarusungu border post, which the Ministry of Home Affairs has said is a screening centre for illegal immigrants. The arrest of the five men comes in the wake of reports that hundreds of people in Kavango and West Caprivi have been rounded up as illegal immigrants or "Unita soldiers and collaborators". Many have been released but others are to be deported as a "threat to national security" or to be registered as refugees. Meanwhile, the Congress of Democrats has expressed concern at "increasing reports of arbitrary arrests, detention without trial and widespread torture of detainees by the country's security forces". In a statement the CoD said: "Despite lies fed to the nation by these ministers (responsible for law and order and defence) under the false pretence of 'national security' it is now obvious that large scale human rights violations are the order of the day in numerous detention centres.
Human rights groups condemn arrest and torture of citizens as illegal immigrants (The Namibian, 16/10)- Police and immigration officers in Kavango and west Caprivi are arresting Namibians as illegal immigrants and subjecting them to torture while ignoring proof of citizenship. Some of the suspected immigrants had been held for more than three months without trial, according to information given to this newspaper and human rights organisations. In one of the latest incidents a man was released from Sarusungu border post at Rundu on Thursday when his lawyer served court papers on the Government Attorney nearly two weeks after he was arrested. Badley beaten Joseph Shindjukwe told Norman Tjombe of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) that he was arrested despite him having shown Police officers his identification documents. He said although the Policemen had known him for years they insisted he was a naturalised Namibian born in Angola. Shidjukwe was born in Namibia. He was severely beaten while being transported from the village to Sarusungu immigration centre, an out-of-use border post on the Kavango river. Shindjukwe was released a day before his lawyer approached the High Court for an urgent application for his release. Those holding him sent his brother, Steve Hausiku, on a 'wild goose chase' telling him they had taken Shidjukwe to Rundu Police station and later denying that he was at Sarusungu. Shindjukwe is only one of many Namibians rounded up in Kavango on suspicion of being "Unita soldiers and collaborators" or illegal immigrants from Angola. Hausiku said in court papers that he saw close to 80 people in the courtyard at Sarusungu immigration centre when he was looking for his brother. Klenion Kufuna (45), who was detained for four days at the end of September told The Namibian he came across "young boys" aged 16 and 17 who told him they were Namibians and had been held for up to six months without appearing before a court. But Nkrumah Mushelenga, the Deputy for Immigration in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said it was "impossible" that people would have been detained at Sarusungu for that long because the border post had only been used for the past few weeks as a screening centre. Mushelenga, however, said suspected illegal immigrants could be detained for long periods if they failed to tell the truth about where they come from." "We cannot deport a person to a country where he does not belong," said Mushelenga. Where the suspects are found to be a "security threat", such as being linked to Unita, they are handed over to the security forces, said Mushelenga. Kufuna was arrested after Police got hold of photographs taken when he worked for Koevoet in the early 1980s. He said the Police accused him of being a Unita commander, although he was last in an army in 1984. He was released after his brother, a Police officer, learnt about his detention.
Last week the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said Immanuel Mukuve (34), Johannes Simbilingwa, Sikongo Kandjimi, Petu Mugomba, Sikongo Siwogedi and a certain Sikongo were detained for three months. The NSHR quoted Mukuve saying they were detained by the Special Field Force (SFF) and the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), who tortured them in order to force them to confess to being Unita bandits. Mukuve told the NSHR that the Police officers destroyed their identification documents. They were taken to the Kavango river for interrogation. The NDF took them into Angola, set a house on fire and pushed the detainees in before pulled them out when the flames came closer. Some of the captives were assaulted to the extent that at times their urine contained blood and they sustained back pains. Human rights monitors said Mukuve and his fellow captives still have torture marks on their bodies. Chief Inspector Hophni Hamufungu said Police were investigating all allegations made in press statements by the NSHR. Hamufungu urged victims of Police brutality to lay charges with the Complaints and Discipline unit.
Angolan nationals flee to Kahenge, Namibia (Pana, 10/10, Rundu)- A group of 26 Angolan nationals fleeing war from their country have reported to Namibian authorities at Kahenge police station, about 135 km west of Rundu, principal immigration officer Mascar Kashembe said Tuesday. He told the national news agency that the Angolans are still at the police station. The group arrived in Monday night from Kafuma in southern Angola where fighting was raging between government and UNITA rebel forces. They would be transferred to Cassava transit camp, 70 km south of Rundu on the Grootfontein main road. Kashembe noted that from Cassava, the Angolans would be taken to Osire refugee camp near Otjiwarongo. Meanwhile, Angolan nationals residing in various places in Kavango have been reporting daily to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office to be taken to Osire camp. One young Angola woman told the agency that she decided to go to Osire because she wanted to continue with her studies. She said she was tired of being apprehended by the security forces during the ongoing cleanup operations. "It is better to stay in the refugee camp instead of being arrested every time," she added.
Immigration tribunal orders 150 undocumented migrants out of Namibia (IRIN, 09/10, Johannesburg)- A Namibian Home Affairs Ministry official on Monday confirmed that more than 150 illegal immigrants - the majority of them from Angola - have been ordered out of Namibia by an Immigration Tribunal in the northern town of Oshakati, close to the Angolan border. The official told IRIN that five of the illegal immigrants were Zambians and another came from Zimbabwe. Said the official: "The police always arrest illegal immigrants on a regular basis under the Immigration Control Act. Those arrested are then held in custody until they appear in front of the Immigration Tribunal where they are given an opportunity to state their case." The official claimed the 150 to be deported admitted to the tribunal to have entered Namibia illegally and had no objection to being deported back to their countries. "Those to be deported are not refugees and have not requested such status," said the official. He added that the UNHCR attends the tribunal hearings and is afforded the oppportunity to interview those appearing before the tribunal. "There is, therefore, nothing irregular about the deportations of illegal immigrants," said the official, who pointed out that Namibia accommodates refugees, many of them from Angola, in the Osire refugee camp. The camp, situated about 230 km north of Namibia's capital, Windhoek, houses 14,218 refugees mainly from Angola.
Gun battle follows attempted abduction of Namibian border fishermen (The Namibian, 05/10, Windhoek)- The Namibian Police killed an Angolan government soldier and captured another in a gun battle after Angolan troops tried to abduct Namibian fishermen at the Kavango river on Tuesday. Police said yesterday the incident took place at Mayana, about 15 kilometres west of Rundu, while three Namibian men were fishing on the Namibian side of the river late in the afternoon. The river forms the border with Angola. Andreas Munango (20), Mutenga Hausiku (21) and Gelasius Hausiku (26) were fishing for their days food when they heard gunshots ring out across the river from Angola. Six gunmen ordered the men, for whom fishing is a subsistence activity, to cross the river into Angola or face being shot. "Fearing for their lives they crossed the river," said Sergeant James Matengu of the Namibian Police public affairs department. Members of the Special Field Force (SFF) at a nearby base reacted swiftly after hearing the shots. But the three men had already been abducted and were about to be taken deeper into Angola when the 5FF fired warning shots, said Matengu. The six gunmen returned fire and a gun battle erupted between the two forces. Witnesses say the shooting lasted for almost 20 minutes. The SFF officers, who at the time did not know they were battling the FAA, then crossed the river to rescue the Namibians. They found them unhurt but an Angolan soldier in uniform had been critically wounded. He died the same day. Another surrendered to the Namibian security forces.
Matengu said he was not sure whether the captured soldier would be charged, but, he added, "something will be done". Police also reported that suspected Unita bandits raided Nyondo village, 95 km east of Rundu, on Tuesday taking clothes, food and cattle. But the bandits did not get far with their loot as the villagers immediately alerted the Namibian security forces. The security forces pursued the robbers and fired shots at them. The bandits fled, leaving the herd of cattle behind. People at Nyondo, however, said a cap belonging to the FAA was found at the scene of the encounter. The incident in which FAA soldiers were killed and captured gives credence to reports from villagers in various parts of Kavango that the increased banditry in the region cannot be attributed to one group alone but to a mishmash of culprits. Namibian authorities have blamed incidents where culprits could not be properly identified as the work of Unita. While Government has steadfastly blamed Unita for the attacks and plunder, Namibian villagers in the Kavango have said Angolan soldiers and common criminals are also involved.
Since the arrival of the Angolan army in Namibia at the end of last year people in Kavango, including the Swapo-controlled regional council, have been complaining about the indiscipline of the Angolan soldiers. More than 70 people have died in Namibia and many more have been wounded in attacks since the start of this year.
Conflict continues along border with Angola (Angola Peace Monitor, 05/10, London) - There continues to be conflict along the border with Namibia. Since February, over seventy Namibians have been killed by UNITA, mainly through the rebels laying landmines along roads. According to the AFP news agency, more than 130 people have been maimed by landmines in the Kavango region, on the border with Angola, this year. In one case, UNJTA put a landmine in a church, injuring several people. Namibias Defence Minister, Erkki Nghimtina, said on 27 September "we condemn the escalation of civil war by Savimbis UNJTA along our common border, particularly in the Kavango and western Caprivi regions, in view of their ongoing attacks on Namibian civilians and robbing them of their property". The Namibian army has undertaken "hot pursuit" actions into Angola against UNITA rebels who have been killing Namibians and stealing goods from villages on the Namibian side of the border. On 26 September the Namibian Press Agency reported that the Namibian Defence Force had recovered 109 cattle which had been stolen by UNJTA soldiers from the village of Muveve. The agency stated that the cattle had been recovered during an operation by the army inside Angola. During the operation the army claims to have killed seven UNITA soldiers. The Namibian-based National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has alleged that 3,000 Namibian soldiers have crossed into Angola to help fight UNJTA, a claim flatly denied by the Namibian government. NSHR claim that an operation is underway along the rivers Cafuma and Caquene against IJNITA strongholds. The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa. ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London Ni 9SA, Britain e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org fax +44 20 7837 3001. Telephone +44 20 7833
Home Affairs minister denounces gays and lesbians (Business Day, 05/10, Windhoek) - The opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance has announced it will introduce a vote of no confidence in Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo following his umpteenth public gay bashing. Alliance president Katuutire Kaura said he was acting in accordance with Article 39 of the constitution, which states that the president must terminate the appointment of any member of the cabinet if the parliament, by a majority of all its members, resolves that it has no confidence in that member. Kaura cited Ekandjo's alleged gay bashing, anti-foreign statements and incompetence as the main reasons for his call. The alliance leader charged that Ekandjo had displayed total disregard for and ignorance of the Namibian constitution in his recent attacks on foreign judges, as well as his pronouncements on gays and lesbians. Kaura argued that the increasing crime rate due to poor policing, insufficient training and a total lack of motivation among the force provided enough grounds to have Ekandjo dismissed. He said Ekandjo's failure to answer parliamentary questions put to him by members of the opposition was another sign he was unfit for office. Under Ekandjo the home affairs ministry had failed to issue identity documents. Kaura said it would take "154 years at the present rate before the present population will each have an ID document". In August Ekandjo thundered against foreign judges who handed down judgments the government did not like. He threatened to withdraw the work permits of foreign judges in the wake of an interim judgment given by Zambian Judge Annel Silungwe which prevented the police from detaining or deporting the Osire Stars musical group, made up mainly of Angolan refugees. Ekandjo later apologised for his remarks. Several months ago Ekandjo refused to answer parliamentary questions put to him by the Congress of Democrats, saying he was not accountable to the congress. On Friday he urged 700 newly trained police officers to "eliminate" gays and lesbians "from the face of Namibia".
Namibia-Angola Borders Delineated (Pana, 04/10, Rundu) - A delegation of the Namibia-Angola Joint Security Commission Wednesday completed its work on the identification of border posts between the two countries for effective control of cross-border movements, a senior Namibian official said. Deputy director for Immigration, Nkurumah Mushelenga, told reporters that five places had been identified where fixed border posts are expected to be established soon along the NamibialAngolan border in the northern part of the country. These are Mukuso town opposite Mukwe, Calai opposite Rundu town, Port Cuangar opposite Nkurenkuru, as well as Katwitwi post, over 170km west of Rundu, and Okalongo in the Omusati region. According to Mushelenga, a team consisting of Namibian and Angolan delegations responsible for border matters undertook the three-day mission, in accordance with last weeks resolutions passed by the Joint Commissions meeting held at Ondangwa. He said the identified areas would become operational once the administrative machinery was put in place by both countries.
Five new border posts established with Angola (The Namibian, 04/10, Windhoek)- Two Angolan residents at the Osire refugee camp were beaten up by a mob of fellow refugees on Sunday after they apparently set fire to their own tents as part of a protest action. The two refugees reportedly sustained serious injuries during the attack and have been admitted to the Otjiwarongo State Hospital where they are being kept under Police observation. Police Chief Inspector Hophni Hamufungu told The Namibian on enquiry that two people were arrested for causing damage by throwing home-made bombs into their tents." "They [the two refugees] were arrested and charged for malicious damage to property by setting their tents on fire. They used petrol bombs in the process causing excessive damage to the tents." "The Police spokesman said the actions of the two refugees were an attempt to draw the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to their pleas to be relocated to a third country, preferably Canada. It was not clear if anyone had been arrested for the assaults on the two hospitalised refugees. Hamufungu said the situation at Osire, which houses some 11 000 refugees, was tense as there were frictions between two factions of Angolan refugees.""They [Angolan refugees] are accusing one another of all sorts of things. And it appears that the Kangela- and Ovimbundu-speaking Angolan nationals do not get on well with each other," he said. A group of 438 Angolan refugees are said to have called on the UNHCR to resettle them in a third country. The Head of the Liaison Office of the UNHCR, Hesdy Rathling, confirmed the arson attack to The Namibian yesterday." "They have purposefully damaged the tents belonging to the UNHCR which is a very serious offence. They did it apparently to draw our attention to their request for resettlement." "But that is not how things are being done. We (UNHCR) dont resettle people at random. It is a very lengthy process which must be discussed with our office and the host Government," he said. Rathling explained that there were many aspects which needed to be considered before someone was relocated to a third country." "Firstly we must look at the safety aspect of the person(s) requesting relocation. Is it a genuine request or just someone doing something purposefully in order to have his or her demands met." "Secondly, a person can be resettled to a third country due to health. But there must be full proof that he or she cannot obtain the prescribed medication for their condition in their present country," he noted. The UNHCR official further explained that the onus rests on the country chosen for relocation to indicate if they are interested in accepting the person - a process which can take months or even years. Rathling said he always tells refugees to behave correctly when accepted into a country "as no refugee was above the law". He added that it was unfortunate that the two suspects had been attacked by fellow refugees.
Opposition calls for resignation of Home Affairs minister for 'gay-bashing' (02/10) - Namibias Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo should be fired for his "prejudiced" comments on homosexuals, the countrys National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said on Monday. "These ... remarks show that Minister Ekandjo is totally unfit for public office in a country that is founded upon the principles of democracy," the NSHR said in a statement. Ekandjo told 700 police graduates last month to "arrest on sight gays and lesbians and eliminate them from the face of Namibia". He said the countrys constitution did not guarantee the rights of homosexuals. Ekandjo urged the graduates to combat homosexuality and all other "unnatural acts including murder." "Even if gays and lesbians had a gay dog they would murder it," he said. The NSHR said that the ministers remarks were reminiscent of political leaders that had called for the elimination of minority groups such as Adolf Hitler. "How can the Swapo rulers allow the erratic man to systematically destroy Namibias internationally acclaimed image as a democratic country?," it said. The society said Ekandjos remarks that the rights of gays and lesbians were not protected in the Constitution were incorrect. It cited many examples including that Articles 10, 13, 18, 21 and 22 which guarantee the rights of everyone including sexual minorities. "Furthermore, Section 107 of the Labour Act (Act 6 of 1992), which Ekandjo helped pass clearly states that no one shall be discriminated against or harassed on his or her sexual orientation." Ekandjo made headlines in August after he said he would withdraw the work permits of foreign judges who made judgements that were perceived to be against government policy. He was later forced to issue an apology.
This page was last updated on 3 January 2000.