News and Information

Cops in Caprivi u-turn
January 19, 2005

FORMER Caprivi resident Rodwell 'Fred' Kauhano has been deported to Namibia from Botswana, where he was in exile as a refugee, the Namibian Police acknowledged yesterday.

At the beginning of this week, the Police's Public Relations and Liaison Division was still denying a claim by the National Society for Human Rights that Kauhano had been deported from Botswana, where he has spent the past six years in exile.

Yesterday the official line on Kauhano's whereabouts changed, though.

A Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Angula Amulungu, told The Namibian that he had since been informed that Kauhano had been deported from Botswana after all.

The deportation took place last week because, Amulungu said, Kauhano had forfeited his refugee status in Botswana by allegedly returning to Namibia - the country that he had fled from supposedly because he feared for his safety here - three times last year.

The same reason was given in December 2003 for the deportation of seven other Caprivi residents who had taken up refuge in Botswana.

They were swiftly arrested in Namibia on high treason charges related to claims that they had been part of a movement that aimed to secede the Caprivi Region.

The eight, together with another four co-accused, are scheduled to go on trial in the High Court in Windhoek on March 1.

No such fate is likely to befall Kauhano, Angula indicated.

He said Kauhano was a free man, and emphasised that Kauhano was not regarded as a suspect in either of the two high treason trials flowing from the alleged activities of a secessionist movement in the Caprivi Region some six to seven years ago.

The NSHR pointed out in a press release last week that Kauhano was part of a group of some 92 Caprivi residents who left Namibia in the last days of October 1998 under the leadership of former DTA leader - and alleged secessionist chieftain - Mishake Muyongo and Mafwe tribal Chief Bebe Boniface Mamili.

That exodus of Caprivi residents started shortly after evidence of an alleged plot to secede the Caprivi Region from Namibia through armed means first surfaced.

Several of the people that formed part of the first group of exiles that accompanied Muyongo and Mamili have since been arrested in Namibia and charged with high treason.

Their trial is set to resume in the High Court in Grootfontein on Monday next week.

At least one of them, however, is finding himself at the other end of the scales of justice.

He is listed as a witness for the prosecution, and is slated to be the next witness to be called to testify for the State when the trial restarts.


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