Namibia: Soldiers Clash With Erongo Farmers

Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma.

SOLDIERS clashed with farmers wanting to graze their livestock on the corridors of Namibian Defence Force farms near Karibib in the Erongo region on Thursday.

According to social media reports, soldiers drove around the corridors in a military vehicle, intimidating and threatening the farmers.

In one case, according to comments by Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani to The Namibian, one farmer had his arm broken and the soldiers detained others during a clash in the corridors.

Venaani said a case was reported to the police and that the matter is being investigated. He also claimed that he and the farmers have proof that the NDF was 'renting' out its farms for grazing to private farmers.

Venaani said he had visited the area on Wednesday to assess the situation of the communal farmers, mostly from Omatjete, who have trekked nearly 100km to find grazing in the railway corridor between Omaruru and Kranzberg near Usakos.

Erongo police commander Andreas Nelumbu told this newspaper that he had only heard the allegations on Thursday morning, and had sent senior officers to the area to assess the situation.

"I cannot give details yet, and I do not want to speculate. All I know is that there were reports of a conflict," he said.

Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua, who has been calling on commercial farmers and the NDF to open their farms to assist drought-stricken communal farmers with grazing, lamented the incident.

"This is not the orthodox way for civilians who are seeking help in this drought to be beaten and detained," he said, adding that he will seek an audience with president Hage Geingob for intervention.

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