Namibians slam Zambian president over missing activists

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Zambian leader Rupiah Banda on Thursday faced a hostile reception on his state visit to neighboring Namibia over missing freedom fighters some 30 years ago.

Back at home, opposition parties see him “as a joker”. Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) petitioned Banda to help establish the fate or whereabouts of several freedom fighters who disappeared without a trace to date on Zambian soil between 1976 and 1978.

Reports say the Zambian security forces, presumably acting on the instructions of then SWAPO President Sam Nujoma, rounded them up after they were accused of being “radicals” and or “rebels”.

The disappeared persons were part of hundreds of Namibians who fled apartheid South African oppression in Namibia between 1974 and 1975 and joined SWAPO then as a liberation movement based in Zambia.

“They disappeared under mysterious circumstances after they vehemently opposed the so-called Détente Scenario, also known as ‘An Approach to Peaceful Change in Southern Africa’, between then South African Prime Minister John Vorster, on the one side, and SWAPO and the Zambian Government, on the other” NSHR.

According to NSHR, “At the time of their disappearances, Banda was Zambia’s Foreign Minister and, as such, he played a crucial role in such disappearances as well as in the hostile acts against the PLAN fighters in Zambia”,

The NSHR is a national private, independent, non-profit making and non-partisan human rights monitoring and advocacy organization. It was founded in 1989 by concerned citizens and it envisages a world free of human rights violations and aims to stop such acts in Namibia and the rest of the world.

In a statement, NSHR listed the following as missing, Aikota, Abel (Ondangwa—Oshikoto Region), Haimbodi, John (Edudja—Ohangwena Region), Hakaye, Barry (Oniipa—Oshikoto Region), Halleluja, (Ohangwena Region), Hamupembe, Jackson (Etomba—Ohangwena Region), Haupindi Gabriel (Onheleiwa—Ohangwena Region), Ilya, Leonard Shilongo (Eengolo—Omusati Region), Ipumbu, Israel Mashuna “Shimbungu” (Ogongo—Omusati Region), Kadhila, John (Okaku—Oshikoto Region), Kaukungwa, Tuyeni (Walvis Bay—Erongo Region), Komeya and Ananias (Omusati egion).”

Others are Markus, Longinus Omusati region, Mundjego, Elifas Oshipanda—Oshikoto region, Mwiiyale Jerry Omusati region, Nakaambo Gottlieb Onayena—Oshikoto region Namashana Ontokolo-Oshikulufitu—Omusati region and Ndinoshiho Jason Omundjalala—Omusati region, Nghiyolwa Jonas Okaku-Ongenga—Ohangwena region, Shafombabi Timo Walvis Bay Ongenga—Ohangwena region, Shanghala Nestor Ontokolo—Omusati region, Shikolomwenyo Omakango—Oshikoto region, Shikudule Andreas Okalongo-Oneheke—Omusati region, Shimwaafweni Junias Walvis Bay—Erongo region, Paapopi Valombola Ohamuti—Omusati region and Toromba Joel Vikurupa Aminius—Omaheke region.

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