Government yesterday condemned the random shooting of Namibian citizens suspected of being poachers at the Botswana border, saying the authorities in that country are too quick to pull the trigger.
Deputy minister of international relations and cooperation Peya Mushelenga told The Namibian that the shooting of Namibians at the game reserve was uncalled for and was done without investigation.
Mushelenga was referring to the recent diplomatic tension between Namibia and Botswana after border patrol soldiers from that country shot and killed two Namibian suspected elephant poachers in May.
The two Namibians, Maziezi Tekulo Salomon (26) and Manyuka Shakawyae Iwana (29) were allegedly discovered with four elephant tusks in their possession in the Kwando area.
“We have our own laws in Namibia on how to react to such situations. Botswana has a death sentence, but shooting is not a solution,” he said.
Mushelenga said that his office has requested the Namibian high commission in Botswana to look into the matter.
“There are innocent Namibians who go to Botswana and into the game reserve unaware about what is going on but are shot just because they are suspected of being poachers,” Mushelenga said.
The deputy minister said the Botswana authorities should first ask questions before firing. “The Botswana Defence Force should also fire warning shots,” he suggested.
Minister of environment and tourism Pohamba Shifeta said Namibia has a standing relationship between neighbouring countries on how to handle suspected poachers across the borders.
“We communicate to other countries when there is a suspected poacher and handle the matter without shooting. Namibia does not shoot at suspected poachers unless the official is under threat by an armed suspected poacher, we do not have capital punishment in Namibia,” he said.
Shifeta also suggested that authorities in Botswana should first fire warning shots at Namibians before shooting them.