By Risco Lumamezi
Botswana has defended its killing of two Namibian villagers in July this year by members of its Botswana Defence Force arguing that they did so in self-defence.
Mr. Richard Munguni Siyauya, (36) and Mr. Brian Nyambe Nyambe (31) were shot dead while allegedly poaching in the Chobe National Park.
Botswana’s Public Relations, Research and Information Department claims that the incident was allegedly started by the Namibians after they allegedly fired shots at the Botswana Defence Force patrol team, who then returned fire in the process killing the two men.
“It is evident from the foregoing that the Botswana Defence Force acted in self-defence. It should also be underscored that in the past, no poachers lost their lives if they did not resort to the use of force .They were simply arrested by the police. As a well trained and disciplined force, the BDF would not act in a manner that would result in an unnecessary loss of life. It is also clear from what transpired that had the two poachers not resisted arrest or opened fire to the members of the BDF patrol team, the loss of lives would have avoided” the statement said.
Botswana also stated that the two were spotted crossing into Botswana on July 17, 2012 by a wooden canoe at 19:00hrs around the Ihaha area along the Chobe River.
It is alleged that upon reaching the river banks on the Botswana side, the now deceased abandoned the canoe, and swiftly disappeared into the Chobe National Park .The BDF patrol team suspected that they could be poachers; hence laid an ambush in the area where the two had left their canoe.
“At around 23:15hrs, the two men returned from the forest each carrying an elephant tusk and a rifle heading towards the canoe .The BDF patrol section asked the two men to surrender. However, upon realisation that they have been surrounded, the two men opened fire on the members of the BDF patrol section had no choice but to return fire,” the statement said.
According to the statement, one man was found already dead, and the second man could not be located and the deceased was taken to the mortuary in Kasane.
A search was immediately mounted with the help of the Botswana Police Service with a view to locate the second man. The following day, the Namibian Police was informed of the incident and were invited over the scene of the incident in Botswana.
“At around 11:00am villagers across the river in Namibia came over towards the river bank on July 20, 2012 at around 17:00hrs the deceased (Brian Nyambe) was identified and the corpses of the two men were released to the Namibian government.”
A joint investigation by the Botswana and Namibian Police was instituted immediately and a report is expected soon.
“The Botswana government wishes to reaffirm the good state of relations that exist between the two countries. We further reassure our Namibian brothers and sisters that Botswana, as a peace-loving nation, will fully cooperate in the ongoing investigations in the spirit of good neighbourliness and peaceful co-existence.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of the Namibian Police Public Relations Department ,Mr. Fanual Kangwatjivi declined to comment on the latest development when approached for comment , “ What I can tell you is that we are still busy with the investigations , it is not the police alone but we want to hear from the community ” concluded the police spokesperson .