See also:
» 08.02.2011 - Cold War secrets of Namibia, Angola revealed
» 10.10.2008 - Namibia independence gave Peace Prize
» 10.09.2008 - Mass graves discovered in Namibia
» 06.12.2005 - Castro reveals role in Angola, Namibia independence
» 27.05.2005 - Germany pays for colonial errors in Namibia
» 17.01.2005 - Namibia's Damara want inclusion in 1904 genocide debate
» 17.12.2004 - Namibia's Herero find reconciliation with Germans
» 18.08.2004 - Namibia wants dialogue with Germany on Herero killings

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Society | Human rights

Mass graves found in Namibia

Misanet / The Namibian, 11 November - A second mass grave was unearthed at a former South African military base at Eenhana close to the Angolan border yesterday - about 50 metres from a mass grave unearthed on Wednesday. The government of Namibia supposes that the dead bodies are SWAPO freedom fighters from the era of the South African occupation and is to investigate their identities.

Workers of the Road Construction Company and the Consulting Service Africa, who are expanding sewerage dams near the Eenhana Military base in Namibia's Ohangwena Region, made the gruesome find. Eenhana is located far north in Namibia, close to the main road connecting the country with Angola.

The Police Commander in the Ohangwena Region, Deputy Commissioner Armas Shivute and the Army Commander at Eenhana, Captain Endjala Natanael, told 'The Namibian' that it is possible that they will find more graves. Mr Shivute told 'The Namibian' that in addition to the mass grave discovered on Wednesday, they have come across other human remains "here and there" at the site.

'The Namibian' saw bones and human remains that had not been buried in the graves. They were about 200 to 300 metres to the west of the former Eenhana army base, close to the air strip.

The Governor of the Ohangwena Region, Usko Nghaamwa, who also visited the site yesterday, said the discovery of the mass graves is a national issue. He said a proper investigation has to be launched by the Namibian government to try to identify the people.

"I am sure that most of these people, if not all, are SWAPO Plan fighters, because the clothes we see here are those uniforms that were worn by Plan fighters when they were fighting the colonial South African forces during the liberation struggle," said Governor Nghaamwa. SWAPO finally liberated Namibia in 1991 and has since won all elections in the country.

Indications are that the bodies of the assumed SWAPO fighters were folded in plastic bags and thrown into the graves and then set alight. "I call on those members of the Namibian Defence Force who have served in the SWATF or in Koevoet to assist us with information that will can lead to the identification of these young people," the Governor said.

The occupying South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and the notorious Koevoet (crowbar) unit operated out of Eenhana, the main South African military base in the far north during the liberation struggle.

"If we are speaking about real reconciliation, this is the time to come out freely with this information about these people, to see whether we can identify them and organise a proper mass funeral," Governor Nghaamwa said.

The former mayor of Ondangwa, Otto Mwandingi Kapia, who also visited, Eenhana yesterday, conducted a prayer together with the Police and workers at the site. "God, remember our brothers who have been buried in this mass grave in this way. They were fighting for a good cause, to liberate this country and its nation, and let their blood water our freedom. Amen," Mr Kapia prayed.

When 'The Namibian' left Eenhana late yesterday, Deputy Commissioner Shivute, the Police and workers were still digging up human remains. "We are going to continue with the searching until we are satisfied that we have found all possible mass graves around here," said Mr Shivute.

People at Eenhana who 'The Namibian' spoke to said that the then South African security forces did not allow local people to go near the base. "We hope that the National Society for Human Rights will also take up this issue and will demand that those involved come out with the truth and assist with the investigation and the identifying of these people," Governor Nghaamwa said.

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