The Government Of Namibia On Killing Of Namibians By Botswana Defence Forces (BDF)

The Government of the Republic of Namibia learnt with dismay about the shooting and killing of four Namibian citizens, on 5 November 2020, by the Botswana Defence Forces (BDF) purportedly at Chobe River, near Kasane, inside the Republic of Botswana.

Following the incident, the Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force released a media statement confirming the incident and the positive identification of Namibian citizens. The Inspector General further informed that the Namibian Police Force and the Botswana Police Force agreed to undertake a joint investigation on the incident.
This afternoon, His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, met with the Nchindo family, where at he extended his condolences for the loss of their loved ones. President Geingob, accompanied by the Vice President, the Prime Minister, myself and line ministers informed the family that the Government took the incident in a most serious light and that the relevant agencies were mobilized to shed light on the unfortunate incident.

In extending condolences to the bereaved family, President Geingob said:
“The shooting incident by the Botswana Defence Force, in which four Namibians from the same family lost their lives is deeply regrettable. Prior to my meeting today with the bereaved family of the deceased, I had a telephone conversation with President Mokgweetsi Masisi to discuss the incident. I assured the bereaved family that this unfortunate incident is receiving the utmost attention it deserves from the relevant authorities in our two countries. A joint investigation will be carried out. As we continue to deepen our excellent bilateral relations with Botswana, I wish to assure Namibians that the safety of Namibians and the territorial integrity of Namibia will not be compromised. I wish to extend condolences to the bereaved family for their loss.”

During the telephone conversation with President Geingob H.E President Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, expressed condolences to the bereaved family, and similarly regretted the loss of lives. The two leaders agreed to a joint-investigation in order to shed light and also to bring closure to the family.

H.E. the President’s engagements were preceded by my summoning of His Excellency Dr Batlang Comma Serema, High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana to Namibia to MIRCO in order to express the Government of the Republic of Namibia’s regret and grave concern over the tragic killings. While I informed that the Government of the Republic of Namibia does not condone poaching, I strongly deplored the extrajudicial killings by the Botswana Defence Forces in their anti-poaching drive. Bearing in mind that the two Governments signed the Boundary Treaty in 2018, I sought clarity from the High Commissioner on whether Botswana still maintained the “shoot to kill” as a government policy, as such a policy has potential to cause disharmony between the two neighbouring countries.
I further called on the Government of the Republic of Botswana to speed up the joint investigation, to expeditiously furnish the post-mortem report, as well as to assist with the repatriation of the remains to Namibia.

The High Commissioner confirmed the killing of the four Namibian citizens by the Botswana Defence Forces, further noting his regret by extending his Government’s condolences to the Namibian people, especially the bereaved families. The High Commissioner undertook to report the outcome of the meeting to his Government.

The Government of the Republic of Namibia wishes to assure the Namibian public that consultations at the highest levels of the two governments will continue in order to find a lasting solution that would prevent the recurrences of such incidents between neighbouring countries.

Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation