News and Information

August 2, 2010

Published: Aug 02, 2010 - 07:49 AM

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August 1 2010

Sifwe-speaking villagers in Namibia’s Caprivi Region live in fear of renewed persecution by members of the Namibian Police (NamPol) assigned to the marathon Caprivi High Treason Trial (CHTT) saga. Most of the said NamPol officers have been accused of systematically committing acts of torture and or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (TCIDT) or punishment against the alleged Caprivi secessionist rebels.

Several residents of Masida village, some 70 kilometers west of Katima Mulilo, yesterday told NSHR that they are once again living in fear of ethnic and or other politically-motivated persecution after at least two NamPol members associated with CHTT, on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, arrested and detained an elderly male villager for interrogation in connection with the alleged Caprivi secessionist saga.

A certain Evans Simasiku and two other unidentified NamPol members traveling in an Isuzu LDV allegedly, first, arrested Tabo Hanson, a hearing impaired pensioner and a former Roben Island prisoner, in order “to show us where you have been hiding and feeding secessionist rebel Mametelo”. The first incident allegedly occurred on Friday at approximately 09h00 at a cattle post in the Masida village area. Hanson was allegedly once again arrest on Saturday (i.e. yesterday) at around 04h00. He was subsequently taken into the bush between 15 to 20 kilometers away from Masida village for interrogations.

An allegedly traumatized Hanson was forcibly dragged from his hamlet at Masida village “under the cover of darkness” and led into the bush where he was subjected to interrogations in connection with a certain Mametelo and other alleged Caprivi secessionist rebels. Hanson, who spoke to NSHR through an interpreter who is a close relative, said he disowns all and any statements which the Police had forced him to sign implicating anyone in the marathon alleged secessionist saga.

The controversial CHTT is plagued by substantive and procedural legal problems inter alia because the due process of law has not been adhered to by both Police officers and several judicial officers involved.

In a far-reaching judgment on March 1 2010 CHTT trial judge Elton Hoff ruled as inadmissible evidence against the alleged secessionists due to the fact that the prosecution team has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the admissibility of such admissions and confessions.

In a so-called trial-within-trial Judge Hoff ruled that some of the statements made by the accused persons (i.e. the alleged Caprivi secessionists) were inadmissible because: (1) deponents had been assaulted (read “tortured”) by the members of the Namibian Security Forces prior to making the said statements; (2) the magistrates who took down the statements had been informed by the accused persons that the accused persons had been [tortured] previously and that the said magistrates had failed to investigate the torture allegations; and further (3) that the magistrates had failed to inform and or explain to the accused persons their right to legal aid and legal representation prior to the accused persons’ making the said statements. Hence, Judge Hoff ruled that the accused persons’ inalienable Constitutional right to fair trial has been violated.

In a series of Press Releases and or Opinion pieces in 2006, NSHR strongly warned the Namibian judiciary that the use of torture evidence in the CHTT will have far-reaching negative consequences with regard to the fairness of the said trial.

Furthermore, Sifwe-speaking villagers told human rights monitors that they “strenuously” object to Sisubia-speaking NamPol officers interrogating them about the alleged Caprivi saga because of the chronic ethnic rivalries between the Mafwe and Masubia tribes in the Caprivi Region.

Virtually all the alleged Caprivi secessionist suspects are ethnic Mafwe tribesmen, while the overwhelming majority of the NamPol officers accused of systematic TCIDT are said to be ethnic Masubia tribesmen. Villagers demand that tribally-neutral NamPol officers should be assigned to investigate the Caprivi secessionist saga, and not Masubia-speaking NamPol members “who hate us anyway because of tribalism”.

The close to 1 000 Caprivi refugees in Botswana has recently expressed concern that they would be subjected to persecution and prosecution once they are brought back to Namibia through the “voluntary repatriation” being prepared for them by a tripartite team, consisting of the UN refugee agency and the Botswana and Namibian governments.

In case of additional comment, please call: Steven Mvula and or Phil ya Nangoloh at Tel: 061 236 183 or 061 253 447 (office hours) or Mobiles: 081291 2948 (Steven) or 081 122 9886 (Phil) or E-mail: or


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