Namibia police challenged on Kaprivi secession detainees

Namibian Rights and Responsibilities (NamRights) calls upon the Inspector-General of the Namibian Police (NamPol), to release, for the record, as accurately as possible, the official statistics regarding the exact number and the full identities or particulars of persons who were detained and released, who have died in Police custody and who have disappeared, as well as those who remained in custody and are facing trial, to date, in connection with the failed alleged attempt to secede Namibia’s Caprivi Region from the rest of the country.

“The required official statistics would not only enable us to cross-check and or compare with our own figures, but this would, furthermore, put us in a better position to determine when, why and how many have died, remain in custody or have disappeared without a trace. We have good reasons to believe that those who might have disappeared might be buried among those suspected to be in the ‘no name’ mass graves, which NamRights has discovered in 2008 and 2009 along the country’s northern border”, explained NamRghts executive director Phil ya Nangoloh.

Varying inaccurate unofficial figures have been flying around especially in the local print media since the August 2 1999 armed attacks on three State installations in the Caprivi Region, followed by widespread and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by Namibian security forces against mainly unarmed civilians, in general, and ethnic Mafwe people, in particular.

According NamRights figures, Namibian security forces—operating under the cover of a state of emergency, which former Namibian President Sam Nujoma had imposed in the Caprivi Region, on August 3 1999—rounded up between 300 and 500 people. The identities of at least 360 of those rounded up are known to NamRights and have been recorded on the organization’s main list, entitled Master List 1: Persons Said To Have Been Detained in the Aftermath of the Alleged Caprivi Separatist Attack on Katima Mulilo on August 2 1999.

Furthermore, NamRights’ figures strongly suggest that between 139 and 147 alleged separatists have been arrested and, subsequently, charged with high treason since August 2 1999. Of these, 21 have died in Police or related custody, 2 have been released, 10 have been sentenced to long prison terms, while another 114 men remain in NamPol custody to face trial. Of the 114, one, Albius Moto Liseli (54), was arrested on January 5 2009.

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