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Treason verdict: GUILTY
August 1, 2007
Treason verdict: GUILTY


ALL 10 men remaining charged in the second Caprivi treason trial were found guilty of high treason yesterday.

History has been made with the verdict that Acting Judge John Manyarara handed down over the past two days in the High Court in Windhoek.

This judgement is the first verdict to be delivered in a high treason trial in Namibia in close to 16 years.

It is also the first time since August 20 1991 that anyone has been found guilty of high treason in Namibia.

The last people to be convicted of high treason in Namibia were three men who were found guilty by now-retired Judge Bryan O'Linn for having played relatively minor parts in an abortive right-wing plot to overthrow the Government of the then still newly independent Namibia in mid-1990.

The 10 men were found guilty of high treason for having played a part in a plan to overthrow the Government in the Caprivi Region in order to secede the region from Namibia and establish an independent state.

As on Monday, when Acting Judge Manyarara started reading out his judgement, only one of the accused men, Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa, was present in the dock yesterday.

His co-accused were removed from the courtroom on Monday after they started shouting political slogans and singing in the dock as soon as their case was called.

A judgement that had started at about noon on Monday and continued that afternoon was concluded shortly after noon yesterday when Acting Judge Manyarara announced that he was satisfied that the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that the 10 men had committed acts aimed at impairing the authority of the Namibian state in the Caprivi Region.

Because he had earlier found that the prosecution had proven that the Caprivi Region was part of Namibia, that the 10 men were all Namibian citizens, and that they as a result owed allegiance to the Namibian state, this meant that each of them was guilty of high treason.

The acts in respect of which prosecution witnesses implicated the accused men broadly fell into two categories.

LIBERATION ARMY Some of the accused were implicated in having played a part in preparations to establish and arm a separatist movement in the Caprivi Region, under the name Caprivi Liberation Army, in late 1998.

As part of this, they were in a group of CLA members that crossed the Namibian border into Angola around early October 1998 in order to get hold of firearms and ammunition in Angola, before returning to Namibia with arms and ammunition and joining training camps that the CLA had set up at places like Sachona and Lyibu-Lyibu in the Caprivi Region's Linyanti area.

The witnesses who testified on these events, Acting Judge Manyarara noted, were accomplices of the accused who were warned that if they testified honestly and truthfully the court would order that they should not be prosecuted for the offences that the 10 accused men had been charged with.

CONNECTIONS The accused who were identified by witnesses as having been in the group that went to Angola to get hold of arms and to return to the Caprivi Region to fight the Namibian Government to secede the region, Acting Judge Manyarara related in his judgement, were: Progress Kenyoka Munuma, Shine Samulandela, Alex Mushakwa, Diamond Samuzula Salufu, Hoster Simasiku Ntombo, and Alex Mafwila Liswani.

A second main category of acts on which the verdict was based was rooted in evidence about some of the accused having returned to Namibia from Botswana, where they had been living as refugees in the Dukwe Refugee Camp around April 2001 in order to carry out a regrouping of CLA soldiers in the Caprivi Region.

Among the 10 accused, those who were identified as having been part of this return to Namibia and the regrouping, Acting Judge Manyarara recounted, were Frederick Isaka Ntambilwa, John Mazila Tembwe, Shine Samulandela, Alex Mushakwa, Diamond Salufu, Hoster Ntombo, and Alex Liswani.

Another of the accused men, Boster Samuele, was connected to the secessionist movement through items found at a makeshift CLA base at Situnga Island in the Caprivi Region on November 4 2002, when three alleged CLA soldiers were shot dead at the island, Acting Judge Manyarara further noted.

Alex Mafwila was also linked to the CLA base at Situnga Island in the same way.

The third accused, Manepelo Manuel Makendano, was convicted on the basis of evidence that he had been appointed to register youthful recruits into the CLA in the Sachona and Lubuta areas of the Caprivi Region around September to October 1998.

The trial is set to continue today, with the prosecution, represented by Deputy Prosecutors General Danie Small and Annemarie Lategan, to address Acting Judge Manyarara on the sentences that are to be handed down on the convicted men.


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