UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
NAMIBIA-BOTSWANA: More Caprivi refugees
JOHANNESBURG, 15 December (IRIN) - The number of Namibians fleeing seccessionist tensions in the northern Caprivi Strip south into Botswana has increased from 849 two weeks ago to 1,200, a UNHCR spokesman told IRIN on Tuesday.
Many of the asylum-seekers, most of whom are being housed in the Dukwe refugee camp north of the capital Gaborone, claimed in interviews with Botswana officials that they were fleeing harrassment and intimidation by Namibian state security forces.
The Botswana government said it hoped that Nambian officials due to visit Dukwe camp this week would persuade the majority of the refugees, including an additional 1,000 San bushmen who have not formally sought asylum, that it would be safe for them to return home.
However, some of those who have been crossing the border since late October include the former leader of Namibia's opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), Mishake Muyongo, Senator Francis Sizimbo, Caprivi Strip governor, John Mabuku, and a traditional leader, Boniface Mamila. Branded as "terrorists" by the Namibian government, they are currently in Gaborone where they are free on bail pending charges of entering the country illegally.
In an interview with AFP at the weekend, Botswana's president, Festus Mogae, said: "None of the refugees will be forced to go back, and each case will be dealt with individually."
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:19:27 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Southern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: NAMIBIA-BOTSWANA: More Caprivi refugees 1998.12.15
Editor: Ali B. Dinar, firstname.lastname@example.org