Namibia denies withdrawal of soldiers along disputed Chobe River border

The Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs denies reports that Botswana and Namibia are working on an agreement to withdraw soldiers from the disputed Chobe River border.

This denial comes after Botswana’s Sunday Standard reported on 3 March, that Botswana and Namibia are working on pulling back soldiers deployed along the contentious Chobe River, as a code of conduct document suggests.

According to the Sunday Standard, a document seen by them, which was prepared by a team from the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) secretariat for the two neighbouring countries, recommended that security forces from both countries “keep a low profile” around the Chobe River.

It further stated that the recommendation stems from the fact that the two countries
have been trying to maintain civilised diplomatic ties under growing public pressure. Namibians have condemned the alleged continued harassment of locals and the killing of the Nchindo brothers, Tommy, Martin and Wamunyima Nchindo, as well as their cousin Sinvula Munyeme on 5 November 2020, along the Chobe River, on suspicion that they were part of a poaching syndicate.

The shock of their deaths was too much to bear for the mother of the Nchindo brothers, Alphonsina Mubu (69), who collapsed and died five days after their deaths.

In light of this report, the defence ministry’s spokesperson, Petrus Shilumbu, when approached for comment, noted that all reports are false and hence the presence of soldiers along the borders will remain unchanged.

“The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) does not have the alleged agreement as reported in the article, and NDF deployment in Zambezi Region remains unchanged,” he said.

Before referring The Namibian to Shilumbu, the defence minister, Frans Kapofi, denied any deployment of NDF soldiers along the Chobe River border.

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