Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu has called for calm and has urged citizens not to take the law into their own hands as tension mounts over the killing of four fishermen by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
Sampofu, who was speaking at a memorial service for the four slain fishermen and mother to the deceased brothers at Katima Mulilo on Sunday, told mourners the two governments were seized with the matter.
“Let not the pain we are feeling now jeopardise the stability that our region or country enjoys. Let us give the government that time frame to work on the petition as submitted. And I assure you that the government is working hard to bring an amicable solution to the current situation. Let us remain calm as we await responses to the petition,” Sampofu said.
The burial of three of the fishermen who were fatally shot by members of the BDF more than a week ago, and that of their mother, will take place today at Impalila Island.
The three brothers, Tommy (48), Martin (40) and Wamunyima Nchindo (36), and their cousin Sinvula Muyeme (44), were shot by the BDF on 5 November along the Chobe river.
The brothers’ mother Alphonsina Nkungano Mubu (69) also died suddenly from a suspected heart attack last Tuesday.
Sampofu has assured sympathisers and Namibians at large that their cries have been heard. He said the Namibian constitution guarantees all persons in Namibia “freedom of speech and expression” and “freedom to assemble peaceably and without arms”.
Therefore, he said, such gatherings should be aimed at influencing policies of the government that may enhance the livelihood of the people.
“We have received the remains of our sons, brothers and friends, let us show with humility the last respect due to them and lay them to rest in a peaceful manner on the day of burial.”
According to Sampofu, the gruesome killing of the four relatives brought endless tears not only to the Nchindo family but to the people of Zambezi and the Namibian nation at large.
“As funeral arrangements were underway, another misfortune befell the family, losing the mother of the three brothers, whose heart could not endure the pain of losing three sons in a horrific way at the same time. Dear mourners, words are limited to console a soul grieving for a loss such as this,” he said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. It is during this difficult time when human words cannot appease a broken heart.”