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Main treason trial adjourned until January
January 13, 2007
Main treason trial adjourned until January


THE main Caprivi high treason trial has been adjourned until mid-January.

The trial is scheduled to continue again from January 16, following a seven-week break in proceedings.

Judge Elton Hoff postponed the trial for the High Court's year-end recess last Monday, after he had heard the testimony that was given by the 87th witness to have testified for the prosecution so far in this marathon case.

This year's proceedings in the main high treason trial started on January 17 with the State's 19th witness continuing with testimony that he had started giving in late November last year.

By the time the trial was adjourned until next year, another 68 State witnesses had passed through the witness stand in the High Court on the grounds of Windhoek Central Prison.

When the court reconvened after last year's year-end recess, it marked the 80th day of proceedings in the main body of the trial before Judge Hoff.

By the time the court was adjourned again until mid-January, the 176th day of trial proceedings had passed, making this year the most productive yet for the trial since its main part started in the High Court at Grootfontein in August 2004.

A challenge against the jurisdiction of the High Court over 13 of the people who are arraigned before Judge Hoff - that part of the trial played out in late 2003 and the first half of 2004 - had preceded the start of the main part of the trial.

One of the last witnesses to testify for the prosecution before the trial was adjourned was Police Inspector Lemmy Haufiku, who had been a Captain in the Namibia Defence Force when the Mpacha Military Base near Katima Mulilo became one of the targets that alleged armed separatists attacked in the early morning hours of August 2 1999.

Haufiku told Judge Hoff that he interrogated "rebels" who were captured inside Mpacha base after the attack.

The four alleged attackers who were captured in the base, he said, were Raphael Lifumbela, Silvester Ngalaule, Musheba Mwiya, and Chris Ntaba.

These names belong to four of the 119 men on trial before Judge Hoff on charges that they had been involved in a conspiracy to secede the Caprivi Region from Namibia.

Haufiku told the court that during this interrogation, Lifumbela, who had been found armed with an AK47 rifle, told him that he was at Mpacha with the aim of fighting against and killing NDF soldiers.

Lifumbela also said the attackers at Mpacha were under the command of Bennet Mutuso - also the name of one of the 119 men who are on trial - and one Shadrick Chainda, Haufiku said.

Chainda was shot dead in a clash with the security forces in the Caprivi Region in early September 1999.

He had known Chainda as a Sergeant who was attached to the same NDF battalion that he was part of, Haufiku testified.

He also told the court that a bag containing various items - including a flag of the allegedly secessionist United Democratic Party and a list of names of people and the targets that they were deployed to for the attacks - were found in the base.

This bag belonged to Mutuso, because an exercise book with Mutuso's name on its cover was inside the bag, Haufiku claimed.

Noting that this exercise book did not appear on Police photographs of the contents of the bag, Mutuso's defence counsel, Jonathan Samukange, told Haufiku that this part of his testimony was "a figment of your imagination".

That might be Samukange's thinking, but he knew that he had handed the exercise book in question over to a superior officer at Mpacha, Haufiku maintained.

Other Police photos that were taken at Mpacha show the captured men, some of them blindfolded with items of clothing and with obvious injuries on their faces.

He was not aware of any "captured enemy" having been beaten at Mpacha that day, and when they were handed over to the Police, they were without injuries, Haufiku told the court.


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