Botswana: Namibia, Botswana Disband Defence and Security Commission

17 September 2021

NAMIBIA and Botswana disbanded the two countries' Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS) on Thursday, during its 29th session at Swakopmund.

The commission will be elevated to a bi-national commission (BNC) on defence and security, chaired by the heads of state of Namibia and Botswana, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries.

The inaugural meeting of the bi-national commission will be hosted by Botswana next year.

Although the JPCDS did not deliberate on border tensions in the Zambezi region, it took notice of the incident in which three Namibians and their Zambian cousin were killed, allegedly by Botswana Defence Force soldiers, along the Chobe River in November 2020.

"The commission noted with regret and sadness the unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of the Nchindo brothers and their Zambian cousin along the Chobe River," it stated.

It added that a joint investigation has been concluded and that Botswana's Directorate of Public Prosecutions has initiated legal proceedings in the matter.

Botswana's minister of defence, justice and security, Thomas Mmusi, added that his country was prepared to repatriate the remains of Namibians killed in the past along Botswana's border with Namibia.

"Yes, I believe that is something that can be done. We need to look at it and do investigations, [remains should] be identified and be released to the relevant families. We will never refuse that," said Mmusi.

Namibia's defence minister, Frans Kapofi, requested relatives of people who died along the borders and whose remains are in Botswana to submit their names for repatriation purposes.

Kapofi added that naval patrol boats sent to Impalila Island recently would remain a permanent feature in the area.

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