By Simon Liseli
FORTY–ONE (41) former Dukwi refugees arrived in Katima Mulilo on Thursday afternoon mainly woman and children, who were born in Botswana since their exodus on August 2, 1999 during the state of emergency.
These Namibian refugees decided to register for the repatriation during May 11 to July 11 and this follows after the newly Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi during his state visit to President Dr.Hage Geingob in April this year, finally put to an end ceasing the refugee status of the Namibian refugees in Dukwi as illegal immigrants in that country, with forceful repatriation of the Namibians by July 11, 2018. The returnees were received and collected by their beloved families upon their arrival on July 12, at the Council Chamber where the Zambezi Regional Governor , Alfea Lawrence Sampofu graced them with the welcoming address and warm greetings commending them for the decision they have taken to return to their motherland-Namibia. “I like to inform you that you are now back in Namibia-Zambezi Region, you used to call it Caprivi but it has changed it’s name it’s now Zambezi” he informed them properly. Governor Sampofu gave an overview to the repatriates on a situation that happened on August 2, 1999 saying that they were people who wanted to secede the then Caprivi region from the rest of the country which he called off and encouraged for voluntary repatriations of all Namibians who are out-side the country to return back to their motherland. “Article 21 of the Namibian constitution gives fundamental rights and freedom of every Namibian like freedom of speech and many others, the other is freedom to leave Namibia and return to your country of origin and as for now you are no more refugees you are Namibians” he noted. “You were informed that the situation in the region is not good, by the group of sixteen (16) those calling themselves Indunas who are telling others lies that when you go home you will be killed or arrested it is not true” added Sampofu.
He adviced them to report any threats from people in their respected areas to village indunas, nearest sub police station around the region or to his office for decisions to be taken with immediate effect and he seriously encouraged them to behave like all other Namibians as they are Namibians. “You are free you should not be threatened by anybody as we have warmly welcomed you to your motherland-Namibia” he remarked.
Deputy settlement commandant of Dukwi Refugee Camp Mr. Moses Mochabo added that a number of refugee will soon return to Namibia but still need to set-up the date to both governments depending when. “One of these repatriates may cross today and the other three will be in Namibia in two days time and those remaining will come but we cant force them” he said. Forty-one Namibian repatriates were accompanied by Ms. Layla Anabatawi a Protection Officer of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) at Dukwi Refugee Camp, Immigration Officer in Dukwi Mr. Khanyiso Basinyi, Deputy Settlement Commandant Mr. Mosses Mochabo and UNHCR Administrator Mr. Gift Mothibapula.