News and Information

Court given tour through 'treason land'
August 25, 2004


SIBBINDA, Singalamwe, Sachona; Linyanti, Lyibu-Lyibu, Malombe, Makanga; Masokotwane, Kaliangile and Cameroon.

These are the names that will mark the geography of the Caprivi high treason trial in the High Court at Grootfontein.

The names of these places in the Caprivi and western Zambia rang like a chorus through the testimony of the first witness in the main part of the treason trial, Detective Warrant Officer Daniel Mouton, before Judge Elton Hoff yesterday.

They are places scattered through the western part of the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel and also in deep southwestern Zambia, but they are united by one common theme: that they housed bases of the alleged rebels who staged surprise attacks at Katima Mulilo on August 2 1999.

Mouton, who is attached to the Namibian Police's Scene of Crime Unit, has been part of the team investigating the high treason case since August 2 1999, when he was dispatched to Katima Mulilo in the wake of that day's early morning attacks, he told the court yesterday.

Since then he has compiled maps and collections of photographs of scenes connected to the alleged activities of an armed movement accused of trying to force the secession of the Caprivi Region through the use of violence.

On that first day on the case, Mouton indicated to the court, he already came face to face with some of the rebels involved in the attacks at Katima Mulilo.

It was at the Mpacha Military Base, which was one of the targets attacked that day, that he photographed some of the rebels that had been arrested at the base, he said.

Throughout his testimony, Mouton used the term "rebels" to refer to those involved in the case he was testifying on.

Inevitably, it led to an objection from the defence lawyers, with defence counsel Percy McNally telling the Judge that it was an equivalent of "terrorist" and asking what Mouton wanted to convey to the court by using such a term.

Mouton nevertheless continued using the same terminology.

At first he took the court through the 12 points where attacks took place on August 2 1999 - including Mpacha, the Katima Mulilo Police Station, the NBC office at the town, the Katounyana Police Base close to the town, the Wenela border post, and in the town centre of Katima Mulilo.

At Wenela one Police officer was killed; at the Police station another, at a road junction leading to the Katounyana base a third, and in the town centre three Namibia Defence Force members, a private security guard, and a civilian were killed, Mouton related.

The total death toll: eight.

Before the attacks, the "rebels" had occupied bases at 17 places in the Caprivi and across the border in Zambia, according to Mouton.

These bases included ones at Sibbinda, some 60 kilometres southwest of Katima Mulilo, in 1998, at Singalamwe, close to the Kwando River on the western boundary of the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel, also in 1998, and at Nabumbwe in the far southwestern part of Zambia, in the same year.

There were also ones at Linyanti in 1998, in 1999 at Cameroon some 30 km south of Katima Mulilo, and also that year at Sachona, some 110 km southwest of Katima Mulilo, at Kongola near the Kwando River, in Zambia at Makanda, Malombe and Nabumbwe - all in the same area - and at Makanga, Mouton testified.

After the attacks, the "rebels" had bases at Makanga - 70 km southwest of Katima Mulilo - and at Cameroon, Linyanti, Chingobeka in the Linyanti area, Kaliangile - some five km east of Sibbinda - and at Masida, some seven km southwest of Makanga, and Masokotwane, close to 40 km south of Katima Mulilo.

Throughout the western Caprivi, from where its area bulges out to the south along the course of the Kwando River to the area due south of Katima Mulilo, there had been a "rebel" presence, it appears.

There had also been a range of weapons in that area.

Mouton told the court about 21 places where either the Police of the NDF had discovered arms or ammunition, or "rebels" had pointed out weaponry to them.

The arsenal collected in this way, mostly from points at Katima Mulilo, but also from places like Makanga, Sachona, Masokotwane and Cameroon, included 10 AK47 rifles, four shotguns, five RPG rocket launchers, a machine gun and two G3 rifles, according to Mplainouton.

He is scheduled to continue giving evidence today.


    Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.

First Name
Last Name