9 March 2016

Namibia: The Agony of a Grieving Father

"I AM feeling pain. Four years after my son was brutally executed for alleged poaching, I am still in pain. It is a pain that will never end. It is a pain that will surely lead to my death," said Sicho Richard Nyambe, the father of Brian Nyambe, one of the two suspected poachers who were killed by members of the Botswana Defence Force anti-poach

In an interview at Katima Mulilo, Nyambe could not contain his anger at the BDF for ending his son's life. "I am an angry man. [I am] very angry at how my son was murdered for a crime he probably did not commit," Nyambe said before revealing that ever since his son was killed, he was diagnosed with a severe heart condition.

Nyambe says: "I was never a heart patient, it all changed the moment my son was murdered. I am now taking heart medication. I cannot sleep at night, it's painful."

Brian's mother also talks of stress leading to depression. She was also diagnosed with stress 'leading to depression' after her son was killed. "Yes, I have seen my son in the coffin, but it is extremely difficult to accept that he is dead."

Nyambe describes his son as a very "cool and intelligent" person who had a bright future ahead of him. He says that by the time of his death, he was a non-formal education (literacy) teacher for old people in Katima Mulilo while at the same time pursuing his diploma in primary education. "In addition, he was a passionate fisherman, who often went for fishing in the Chobe River."

He says he is finding it difficult to agree with the BDF's contention that his son was a poacher due to a lack of evidence that he posed a danger to the Botswana military.

"There is no way that he was a poacher," he stresses. He continues, "Even the two guns that were found at the scene could not kill an elephant." At the scene, a .22 millimetre calibre rifle and a shotgun were found.

"Even if my son was a poacher, the BDF officers should have found a way of apprehending them, instead of ending their lives. Remember, my son was shot on the back of the head while in the river, an indication that he was trying to escape. Why do you kill a man who is fleeing? Why do you kill a man who is not even a danger to you?," he asked.

Nyambe still hopes that the Botswana government will take responsibility for his son's death.

In the meantime, Brian's mother says the family is looking after his two young sons. "It is a struggle for them. They are growing up without their father only because of Botswana's reckless policy of shooting suspected poachers," she said.

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