Stefanus Nambara and Elizabeth Hiyolwa
The Namibian Police in Kavango West region is greatly concerned about illegal crossings that have increased along the porous Namibia-Angola border that is so serious that 306 dug-out canoes used for illegal crossing have been seized.
Regional commander for the region Commissioner Josephat Abel said some citizens of both the two neighbouring countries have resorted to jumping the border on either side of the boundary through ungazetted crossing points of the Kavango River.
The region has only two gazetted crossing points between the two countries which are Katwitwi border and Nkurenkuru – Port Cuanguar border posts.
Abel said since the start of the second stage of the Covid-19 lockdown alone, the region has recorded cases of 21 Angolans and 20 Namibians crossing or attempting to cross the border illegally.
He says with some people having families or crop fields on either side of the border, use this as the basis of illegal crossing when they are cornered and questioned by law enforcement agents. This, he said, will not be tolerated as it is still illegal.
So far, the police impounded 306 canoes that were found along the river.
“What we did is we patrolled the river with our boats and we impounded those canoes which are used as means of transport to engage in illegal crossings,” he elaborated. However, some people out of desperation have now started risking their lives by swimming across the river where cases were in the past recorded of people being killed and devoured by man-eating crocodiles. The commissioner said the culprits in most cases use ungazetted points to transport prohibited contraband such as dagga and whisky into the country. Those that successfully manage to sneak the whiskys into the country are cashing in heavily over exorbitant prices through illegal sales as their demand has gotten high since the ban on the sale of alcohol countrywide. This has seen some illegal traders bartering their mahangu for boxes of whisky. He indicated that Angolans found to have crossed into the country illegally are immediately handed over to Angolan authorities for further action.
This process applies to Namibians found in Angola after which they are screened and fined upon re-entry.
There are currently four people quarantined in the region who upon crossing the border illegally and after been screened one tested high temperature. As a result all four are quarantined in addition to two truck drivers who came from South Africa.
The commissioner called on traditional leaders and the public at large to help the law enforcers in putting up a strong fight against illegal crossing of the border in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“It should not only be the responsibility of the law enforcement agency. It should be all of us, we should work together,” said the regional police commander.
“We should have a common understanding all of us, that we shouldn’t allow people coming illegally into Namibia,” he stressed.
Abel also gave a stern warning to people accommodating those that are entering the country illegally that they will face the law as well.
2020-05-28 10:03:06 | 1 months ago