Katima Mulilo — The dust has not yet settled over the recent killing of two suspected Namibian poachers by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
The Caprivi Regional Youth Forum has come out strongly against the killings.
Two residents of Nakaboelwa in Kabbe Constituency in the Caprivi Region were shot dead by BDF soldiers after they were found hunting illegally in the Chobe National Park in Botswana recently.
In a hastily-convened media briefing on Friday, John Ntemwa, the chairperson of the Caprivi Regional Youth Forum, described the BDF as "a unit with no regard for human life" and he also said BDF has shot dead more than 30 Namibians.
Ntemwa accused BDF soldiers of random shootings and killing of innocent Namibians without considering making arrests.
"It is a matter of grave concern that, thus far more than 30 Namibians have lost their lives due to alleged poaching activities in Botswana. Some are just simple anglers trying to sustain their lives by catching fish along the river. Fishing nets have been confiscated too," said Ntemwa.
According to Ntemwa, the youth forum is aware of BDF military bases along the common border with Namibia and therefore Namibia needs to reciprocate by introducing military border patrols and establishing camps.
"We are aware of the military bases alongside the Chobe River, namely, Ngoma camp, Ihaha camp and Sedudu camp near Kasane.
All these camps are occupied by BDF and not the anti-poaching unit's personnel. We request the Governor of Caprivi to engage the Namibian Defence Force for a joint border patrol. We also request the Minister of Defence to reinstate the NDF camps alongside the border from the west to the east of Caprivi to guard Namibian territory," he said.
He feels communities should be educated regarding the dangers of poaching. "At the same time, conservancies should educate the villagers on the risk of poaching," maintained Ntemwa.
With close family ties between the people of the two countries in the Caprivi Region and specifically in the Chobe area of Botswana, Ntemwa is irked by what he believes to be ignorance and ruthless behaviour by the BDF meant to divide families.
"It is unfortunate that the BDF behaves as if they live on Mars. Do they not know about the historical and linguistic ties between the people of Botswana and Namibia dating back to centuries? Is shooting a solution?" Ntemwa wanted to know.
Ntemwa is adamant that the two suspected poachers killed by the BDF were not in fact poachers and that they were fishermen only attending to their fishing nets.
"The two Nakaboelwa residents found 'poaching' in the Chobe National Park were attending to their fishing nets in the Chobe River on the Namibian side.
"They had two shotguns in their canoe for protection from elephants when coming back home as it was getting dark which is a normal practice in Caprivi," maintained Ntemwa.