News and Information

Namibian deported from Botswana to face treason charges, maintains NSHR
January 18, 2005

THE National Society for Human Rights maintained yesterday - in the face of a denial from the Police - that a resident of the Caprivi Region who had fled to Botswana to seek refuge six years ago had been deported back to Namibia.

The NSHR claimed in a press release on Thursday that Rodwell Fred Katupisa Kauhano had been deported from Botswana back to Namibia on Wednesday last week.

According to the human rights organisation, that event could raise concerns that Kauhano might be subjected to refoulement - that is, being returned against his will to the country from which he had originally fled in fear of being persecuted over his political beliefs.

The NSHR claimed in its statement that it was concerned that Kauhano might have been returned to Namibia to face high treason charges in connection with an alleged plot to secede the Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia.

Two of his relatives, Gibson Luka and Molicious Simone, are among 120 high treason suspects whose trial before the High Court at Grootfontein is set to resume on Monday next week, the organisation claimed.

But according to a Police Spokesperson, Chief Inspector Angula Amulungu, he had been informed by colleagues on the ground in the Caprivi Region that no such deportation had taken place.

He added that he had also been informed that Kauhano was not among the persons still wanted in Namibia in connection with an alleged conspiracy some six years ago to take up arms to establish an independent state, separate from the rest of Namibia, in the Caprivi Region.

Amulungu said the information provided to him has it that Kauhano left the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana and reported himself to Namibian immigration officers at the Mohembo border post south of Mukwe in the Kavango Region on September 30 last year.

By October 6 he had been taken to his home village of Linyanti in the Caprivi Region, from where he once again slipped away, back into Botswana, about two weeks ago, the Police spokesman said.

The NSHR has, however, claimed that Kauhano was first "repatriated under mysterious circumstances" from Botswana to Namibia on September 3 last year.

He was held by the Police and "allegedly interrogated in connection with the alleged Caprivi secessionist plot" until he returned to Botswana on September 23, re-entered the Dukwe refugee camp, and was detained there on October 6, the NSHR has claimed.

Yesterday, NSHR Director Phil ya Nangoloh stuck to the claims made in Thursday's press release.

Kauhano is in Namibia, where he had arrived last week, and is at Linyanti, where he has been interrogated repeatedly by Police officers but does not appear to be in Police custody, Ya Nangoloh maintained.

He said that he could also not rule out that Kauhano might be earmarked to testify in the still-pending high treason trial.

Kauhano had been part of a first group of some 92 Caprivi residents that fled the country to Botswana in late October 1998, the NSHR stated.

That flight took place soon after an alleged plot to activate an armed separatist movement in the Caprivi Region was uncovered.


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