The Botswana Defence Force’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy towards suspected poachers had tragic consequences for a Namibian family last Thursday.
At around 2100, shots reverberated around Kasane as soldiers gunned down three brothers and a cousin on the banks of the Chobe River.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Namibian counterpart, President Hage Geingob – who described the matter as ‘deeply regrettable’ – have since agreed to allow a joint investigation into the incident.
Namibians maintain the slain men were innocent fishermen while BDF insist they were part of cross-border poaching.
Meanwhile, Namibian media report that the dead brothers’ mum passed away on Tuesday evening from a suspected heart attack.
With the bloodbath making international news, The Voice’s Christinah Motlhabane ventured onto the streets of Ghetto to find out what Francistowners think about the potential diplomatic disaster.
KENNETH MESSE (41)
I think our soldiers could have confirmed whether those Namibians were a threat to their lives or indeed to the lives of the animals before shooting them.
Since the Namibians insist the deceased were fisherman, although I do not have the full report, I suspect this issue will cause tension between the two countries.
Botswana and Namibia have enjoyed good relations from far back but if we continue killing their people it will affect our relationship with them.
I wish that since we are the ones who provoked the Namibians, we humble ourselves and send a strong delegation to ask for forgiveness.
MONTY MOTHIBI (34)
What our soldiers did is very sad. The rumours suggest the deceased Namibians were not armed, so why were they killed? What pains even worse is that after the horrific incident, their mother also died while the sister is hospitalised.
Namibia is the second home for most Batswana while many others do their businesses that side.
One may wonder what will happen if the two countries do not work together.
Apparently they are threats from Namibians that they will ‘take revenge’ on any Motswana crossing to their country.
LUCKY MANCE (35)
Although we do not know the truth on what happened, it is like we are creating enemies out of people who we will need tomorrow.
I mean, on what grounds do you attack an unarmed person? The issue really pained the family of the deceased. What happened may lead to us losing our relationship with them. We have Zimbabwe nationals who are hostile and we never shoot them.
You can never hear that a Namibian raped or killed a Motswana and yet we decided to kill them.
What happened is terrible! They are people who are milking our wildlife who should be shot not innocent fishermen.
Now there is a statement from Nambia asking ‘re dire jang ka Batswana ba ba kwano’ (what should we do with Batswana here).
This is scary! We are a landlocked country, how will we survive if we hurt our neighbours?
NCHIDZI KEBASIILE (23)
It’s a sad issue more especially for the deceased’s relatives. Losing three children at the same time is very painful as it is like losing everything.
If the parent was relying on them it means their livelihood is gone.
What our soldiers did is not good at all but since they were on duty maybe they did not understand because poachers come in different ways.
Some pretend to be fishermen while others approach differently. But what happened, happened.
I wish our government can fund the family for the loss. My condolences to the family.
OAGENG MORWA (19)
Our soldiers should have arrested the alleged poachers rather than shooting them.
I wish the two nations can solve this amicably instead of resorting to conflicts.
The incident occurred in the night and I suspect the soldiers did not know what was happening.
They thought the men were poachers.
Investigations are ongoing and the truth will eventually come out!
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