Namibians, who last Friday stood in solidarity with the four slain fishermen at the hands of the Botswana Defence Force, have called for the immediate revocation of the controversial ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy.
Three brothers: Tommy (48), Martin (40) and Wamunyima Nchindo (36), and their cousin Sinvula Muyeme (44), were shot by BDF on 5 November along the Chobe River. The shooting sparked demonstrations against the BDF last week Friday, with Namibians petitioning the local Botswana High Commissioner Batlag Serema. The protesters in the petition demanded the abolishment of Botswana’s “draconian” ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, which they said has claimed 37 Namibian lives.
“We demand the immediate withdrawal of acts of aggression towards our people – terrorising, killing and intimidation of our innocent civilians along the stretch of our common borders and on the Namibian soil,” said Joseph Masule, who read the petition on behalf of protesters.
Masule said they have it on record that more than 37 innocent Namibian lives have so far been lost to the hands of “heartless BDF”.
A case in point, Masule said, is that of a nine-year-old boy, Tuwayape, who was brutally shot and killed by your BDF soldiers at Lizauli in the Zambezi region in 1998.
“As usual, your government’s claim was that this boy was a poacher. Shame on your BDF, Serema, if there are child poachers of this tender age in your country, we do not have such in our country,” he said.
Masule also demanded an immediate and unconditional apology from Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, saying as the current chairperson of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, he should lead by example and walk his talk. They further demanded a speedy completion of the joint investigation into the killing of the four fishermen. According to Masule, failure by the Botswana government to meet and address their demands with the urgency it deserves, demonstrators will be left with no choice but to raise their protests and demands to another “regrettable level”.
“We request feedback on our demands from your office within seven days from the date of this petition. To provide us with plausible feedback and commitment to the demands outlined in this petition,” he said.
On his part, Serema said although the petition was addressed to him, the issue is of a very sensitive nature and that the petition would reach Gaborone within hours.