News and Information

March 24, 2011
Posted by Jo-Ann on Mar 23, 2011 - 11:22 AM

Press Releases [3]

March 23 2011

The alleged acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (TCIDT) as well as other systematic human rights abuses in Namibia’s Caprivi Region, which are committed in connection with the marathon Caprivi High Treason Trial (CHTT) [4] case, continue unabatedly, NamRights has heard, again.

The said abuses form part of the reprisals for the growing resistance by some Caprivians of coercive acts aimed at inducing them to give false and or tainted testimony in support of the Government of Namibia (GoN)’s controversial and embattled High Court case against the now slightly more than 110 Caprivian males. The men, virtually all of them Mafwe tribesmen, are facing more than 270 charges relating to high treason, each. NamRights classifies the said detainees as political prisoners.

Several members of the Namibian Police unit connected to the CHTT have allegedly issued fresh death threats and other acts of harassment and intimidation against the relatives of TCIDT victim and Caprivi returnee, Rassen Lutambo (35) [5], NamRights was told yesterday. Two female relatives of Lutambo’s have deeply expressed “concern about our human rights that are being violated by our Namibian police in the Caprivi Region”.

The evidently traumatized Ronnety Neseho Nchindo (36) and her cousin sister, Alphinance Mwale Liswani (28), informed NamRights that Lutambo and other relatives of his, including themselves, live in constant fear for their lives coming from members of a torturous unit of the Namibian Police assigned to the CHTT. Nchindo and Liswani are first degree cousin and sister of Lutambo’s, respectively. The duo forms part of the growing generation of young Namibians of Caprivi origin who have increasingly decided to speak out against a “reign of terror” and other human rights abuses in the Caprivi Region.

In a letter she addressed to NamRights [6], on March 22 2011, an ostensibly angry Ms. Liswani wanted to know as to “for how long are we going to be [quiet] about this”.

The two women told NamRights officials in Windhoek that, on March 18 2011, at the town of Katima Mulilo, a group of CHTT Namibian Police officers took Nchindo to their “torture nest” located in Bebi Location at the town, where they issued Nchindo with “a whole litany” of threats of death, enforced disappearance and expulsion to the Dukwi Refugee Settlement in neighboring Botswana. According to Nchindo, the group included Haipa, “Welcome”, Popyeinawa and Simasiku. The names of Evans Simasiku, Vesimus Haipa, Kavenaue Kombungu, Heimo Popyeinawa and Sam Mbinge have recurrently featured as “notorious torturers” in the testimonies of virtually all TCIDT victims in the CHTT saga.

TCIDT and other untold cruelties have been indiscriminately meted out against alleged Caprivi secessionist rebels and followers of exiled former Swapo Party Vice President, Mushake Muyongo. Muyongo is the leader of the now banned United Democratic Party. [7]

The said Police officers allegedly accused Nchindo of being “the one telling Lutambo and other ‘rebels’ not to testify in our favor” in the CHTT debacle. They allegedly also claimed that Lutambo was “currently” receiving military training in neighboring Zambia, with the view to secede Namibia’s Caprivi Region from the rest of the country. The alleged Police torturers also warned Nchindo that, should she fail to advise Lutambo to go back to the Dukwe Refugee Camp in Botswana, then “this time around” they will arrest him and cause him to disappear.

It is significant to note that the latest TCIDT allegations occurred barely two days after the meeting of the Tripartite Commission held at the Zambezi River Lodge at the said town, the regional capital of the Caprivi Region. The Governments of Namibia and Botswana as well as the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, constitute the said commission.

Ironically, the object of the tripartite meeting was to “find a lasting solution to the Namibian refugee issues in the Republic of Botswana”. The Namibian delegation at the meeting assured those in attendance that “the ongoing Caprivi high treason case is in its final stages in the High Court of Namibia”. The said meeting was also “informed that the Namibian Police have no recorded cases of harassment of returnees”.

However, Lutambo continues to receive death threats as well as those of expulsion to Botswana. This is because of his refusal to give false testimonies to support GoN’s case against the now slightly more than 110 alleged Caprivi secessionist rebels. Lutambo formed part of a large group of some 1 000 Caprivi refugees that had previously been repatriated from Botswana with assurances that they will not face any persecutions in connection with the marathon CHTT saga.

GoN has repeatedly assured UNHCR and the Government of Botswana that Caprivian exiles in that country would not face any reprisal once they have repatriated to Namibia. However, the refugees themselves are stiffly resisting to be repatriated, saying that they fear persecution once they have been repatriated. NamRights agrees.

During the latest tripartite meeting, UNHCR informed those in attendance that, inter alia, Namibian refugees cited security issues and the “ongoing Caprivi High Treason Case” as well as “lack of confidence” in the Commission’s initiatives as the reasons for not repatriating.

One of five recommendations of the tripartite meeting (download Minutes [8] in PDF at [9]) was that GoN “considers granting applicable amnesty to some of the 931 Namibian refugees in Dukwi”.

Slightly more than 930 Caprivi refugees (who include some 680 males and 250 females) are currently living in exile in the said settlement following systematic human rights violations in the Caprivi Region between 1999 and 2003.

In case of additional information, please call, e-mail or text: Steven Mvula or Phil ya Nangoloh at Tel: +264 61 253 447, +264 61 236 183 or +264 811 406 888 (office hours) or Mobiles: +264 811 299 886 (Phil) and or +264 812 912 948 (Steven) or E-mail: [10] or [11] or visit us at: Liberty Center, 116 John Meinert Street, Windhoek-West, Windhoek or visit us at: [12]


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