By Simon Liseli
Governor of Caprivi Region Lawrence Sampofu has appealed to Namibian citizens living along the river boarding with neighboring countries to refrain from crossing over with aims of committing crimes or poaching.
Sampofu’s appeal comes after tension were flaring between residents of Nakabolelwa who called on the Namibian Government to act against the Botswana counterpart, after two of their fellow community members, Richard Munguni Siyauya, 36, and Bryan Nyambe, were shot dead after they were allegedly found to be illegally poaching on foreign grounds.
Sampofu said Namibia as a state it that cannot interfere with Botswana’s laws and their domestic affairs, adding if Botswana laws allows their Defence Force (BDF) soldiers TO shoot poachers, Namibia has no say to it.
Sampofu further stresses that the relationship between Botswana and Namibia will remain good as long as there are no boarder disputes between them.
“We do not have any boarder dispute with Botswana. The boundary stretches from the Zambezi River through Chobe via to Linyanti River in the South and people residing along the boarders are living in harmony with one another.” Sampofu said.
According to Sampofu, following the shooting of two alleged poachers, the calls to have Namibian Defence Force deployed at the area, will not be a realization as NDF cannot be deployed for anti poaching purpose“The anti poaching duties are done by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and respective conservancies including NAMPOL border guards. We respect the sovereignty of Botswana as the state and there should be official consultations between the two countries,” said Sampofu.
Sampofu added the shooting of Namibians along the Chobe River, eastern Caprivi region, can only come to an end through mutual understanding, awareness sensitizations and mobilization of the local communities at both side s of the countries.
“They will have to be sensitized not to cross over illegal into neighboring states but by only using gazetted entry points with valid travel documents.
When asked about how communities will be able to trace livestock that cross over into foreign land for grazing, Sampofu advised a joint commission has been set between the Chobe district and Caprivi region.
“Our administrators, immigration and police officers work together to solve cross border activities, if cattle crosses over to Botswana that cattle owner should report to the nearest relevant authorities who will contact the Botswana to find those cattle and drive them back”. “Any person crossing into a neighbouring state illegal with the aim of poaching they must know that they are doing it at their own risk,” Sampofu said