- DPP to call 22 witnesses
- Verdict to quell or fuel frontier tensions
An investigation to determine whether anyone can be held responsible for the three deceased Namibians and their Zambian cousin who were shot by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in November last year and whether there was any illegality in the incident has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of next week.
Led by platoon commander Lieutenant Colonel Moreri Mphela, BDF officers who were first to take the stand revealed that they received a call from headquarters that there were four armed men heading towards Sedudu and a team of seven armed soldiers left in two boats to investigate.
According to the soldiers, the four Nchindo brothers and their cousin did not stop when asked to. Instead one of them fired one shot at the soldiers, prompting them to return the fire in the course of which all of them were killed instantly.
It was also revealed that the tip-off came from Chobe Chilwero Lodge that is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Chobe River. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is expected to call a total of 22 witnesses, six of whom will be from Namibia.
Much relies on the verdict that will quell or fuel frontier tensions between the two neighbouring countries, Botswana and Namibia, which have been making negative headlines for some time after the killing of the three Namibians and their Zambian cousin by the BDF.
In an interview with this publication yesterday, the National Executive Chairperson of Namibians Lives Matter, Sinvula Mudabeti, said they are happy are that the process has finally begun. “Expect nothing but justice and fairness from the process,” Mudabeti said.
The position of the BDF is that the deceased were poachers whereas compatriots of the deceased say they were fishermen.
The inquest follows the DPP’s move to register the case with the Kasane Magistrates Court in September this year.
An inquest is a standard procedure under the Inquest Act which provided for the DPP to direct investigations of any loss of life due to unnatural causes to establish both direct and circumstantial evidence to facilitate a fair trial.
The verdict will determine the way forward on the case.