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End in sight for treason accused

2023-05-26  Roland Routh

End in sight for treason accused

Light is shining at the end of a very long tunnel for the seven remaining treason accused after Windhoek High Court acting judge Petrus Unengu set the date for the submission of arguments on the verdict on Wednesday.

This came after the accused, Progress Kenyoka Munuma (62), Shine Samulandela (55), Manuel Manepelo Makendano (69), Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa (58), Diamond Samunzala Salufu (61), Frederick Isaka Ntambila (57), and John Mazila Tembwe (55) finished cross-examination from State advocate Lourens Campher. 

One of their co-accused, Hoster Simasiku Ntombo (57), was released after the Supreme Court found he was illegally abducted from Botswana by security forces.

The judge earlier dismissed a section 174 application, which the accused had lodged, and ruled that they have a case to answer.

They were first convicted and sentenced to jail terms ranging from 30 to 32 years by the late justice John Manyarara in 2007. Those convictions and sentences were, however, set aside by the Supreme Court on appeal in July 2013, and the trial ordered to start afresh before a new judge. 

The eight accused, arrested between July 2002 and December 2003, have been in custody now for the past 21 years. 

They are charged with taking part in a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Namibian government in the former Caprivi region between September 1998 and December 2003.

They face charges of high treason, murder, attempted murder, sedition, public violence and the illegal importation of weapons and ammunition.

The charges stem from an alleged failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi (now Zambezi) region from Namibia. 

Judge Unengu set the date for the submissions as 9 October and apologised to the accused for the long delay, citing various reasons such as administrative breaks and a congested court roll.

The accused denied that they were ever involved with the attacks on Katima Mulilo, or that they planned it with anyone.

Ilse Aggenbach and George Neves represent the accused who remain in custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.       

2023-05-26  Roland Routh

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