Namibia probes alleged BDF Aggression

The issue of the killing of four fishermen whom the BDF believed were poachers is yet to go away. More public hearings are underway in Namibia this week.


Namibia’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security has launched investigations into alleged acts of brutality and aggression by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) on people living along the Chobe River in the Zambezi region.

The investigations commenced on Monday and are expected to be completed on Friday this week. They come against the backdrop of alleged shooting incidents in the Zambezi region by the BDF that have been on the rise in recent years.

Gravity of the situation

In a letter addressed to Zambezi Regional Council that The Gazette is in possession of, the Secretary of National Assembly of Namibia, Lydia Tjihimise Kandetu, says the main objective of the public hearings is to assess the gravity of the security situation along her country’s border with Botswana.

“The committee will engage with community members, traditional authorities and civil societies on the subject with a view to make informed recommendations for implementation by the executive,” reads a part of the letter.

Kandetu adds that the committee will exercise oversight functions with regard to Namibian’s foreign policy and its relations with other states on matters of defence and security through the hearings.  The committee will also enquire into and monitor international protocols, conventions and agreements that may affect Namibia’s foreign policy, defence and security and make recommendations where necessary.

Four fishermen/poachers

In recent years, Namibian communities living along the Chobe River have consistently accused the BDF of acts of aggression and brutality. The issue was escalated when four fishermen whom the BDF believed were poachers were killed in November last year.
In the incident, the deceased were identified as three Nchindo brothers from Namibia and their Zambian cousin. Tensions between the two neighbouring states escalated following the incident that nearly affected diplomatic relations as pressure mounted on the Namibian government from sections of the country’s civil society and several MPs who demanded confronting Botswana over its alleged shoot-to-kill policy along the frontier.

Namibian Lives Matter

Commenting on the latest development, the Chairman of Namibian Lives Matters Movement (NLMM), Sinvula Mudabeti, called on the parliamentary committee to leave no stone unturned when investigating. “We expect the committee to come up with recommendations that will see establishment of security response infrastructure and a support system to respond to the cries of the people,” Mudabeti said.

“The committee should also consider agreeing to ratification of or accession to international agreements which have been negotiated and signed … as well as advising the President with regard to any matters which by the constitution the latter is authorised to deal with.”

“We are not privy to the investigation. We would prefer to familiarize ourselves with the issue before we can comment on the matter. However, we will be in touch with our High Commission in Windhoek tomorrow to verify the veracity of the information,” PS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gladys Mokhawa responded.