10 July 2018

Namibia: Pro-Secession Activists Charged in Zambezi

Katima Mulilo — Five members of the little-known pro-secessionist Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) are expected to appear before the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court today, after they were arrested on Sunday for conspiring to engage in subversive activities to secede the Zambezi Region from Namibia.

The five, whose names are known to New Era but cannot be revealed until they appear in court, are believed to be the main leaders of the pro-secessionist group arrested at Liselo village, some 10 kilometres outside Katima Mulilo, after they attempted to hold a meeting in that area a week ago.

Speaking to New Era, Zambezi Regional Police Commissioner Karel Theron stated that although investigations continue, the five at this stage are facing charges of sedition, conspiracy to commit high treason, resisting arrest, and incitement of public violence.

Theron stressed that the police have strong evidence to believe that the group wants to advance the activities of Mishake Muyongo, the exiled former DTA and United Democratic Party (UDP) president, to secede the Zambezi Region from the rest of Namibia.

On August 2, 1999, armed supporters of secession, under the banner of Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), launched unanticipated attacks on the Namibia Defence Force army base, border post, and the police station in Katima Mulilo.

They also occupied the state-run NBC radio station at the town. In the fighting that followed between rebel and government forces, 14 people were killed.

A state of emergency was declared in the region and several people suspected to have been involved in the secession attempt were arrested. Muyongo, a Swapo vice-president in the 1970s, was quoted at the time as saying the rebellion was "just the beginning".

Police yesterday said the CCG was hell-bent on destabilising the region.

"These guys are trying to destabilise peace in the region. You cannot be having many meetings, today you want to demonstrate, then you want to hold a press conference," said Theron.

He further warned their supporters and sympathisers that the police will see to it that those who advocate for secessionism in the region are brought to book.

"Their followers must think twice - they must reconcile with their conscience that Zambezi Region will remain part of Namibia until the end of the world," he said.

This is the second time in less than two weeks that the police clashed with members of the CCG, after they were forcefully removed by the police from Mukusi Cabins in Katima Mulilo on June 27, when they attempted to hold a 'press conference'.

The group is complaining that government has been ignoring their request to have political dialogue with the banned UDP and its aging leader Muyongo who is exiled in Denmark. He is now aged 74.

In August last year, the group held a demonstration in Katima Mulilo where they handed over a petition to Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu, urging the government to have a dialogue with them and discuss issues regarding what they termed the 'freedom of Caprivi'.

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