Caprivi high treason trial postponed

The trial of 126 alleged Caprivi secessionists facing charges of high treason relating to an attacks on Namibian government installations in August 1999 was postponed to November 2002, the Namibian Press Agency (Nampa) reported on Friday.

The alleged 126 Caprivi separatists appeared before High Court Judge Elton Hoff in Grootfontein, about 452 kilometres north of Windhoek.

Grootfontein Magistrate’s Court officials told Nampa on Friday the hearing was remanded until November 15 on the request of the lawyers representing the alleged secessionists.

Court officials said the lawyers requested the court to give them more time to consult with their clients in connection with the seriousness and complexity of the charges the suspects faced.

The Ministry of Justice’s Directorate of Legal Aid last Friday appointed three State-funded lawyers to represent the accused.

Local lawyers Patience Daringo, Valencia Benz and Ihuprua Ujaha were currently representing the group on the instructions of the Legal Aid Directorate.

A wrangle over legal representation forced earlier postponements of the trial. The alleged secessionists are charged with high treason and sedition, public violence and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

They are charged with taking part in the attacks at Katima Mulilo or providing support to the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA).

The suspects allegedly took part in bloody attacks on Katima Mulilo Police Station, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) regional office, the Wenela Border Post and the Mpacha military base and airport on August 2 1999.

The alleged separatists were said to have been under the leadership of former Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) President and MP Mishake Muyongo.

Muyongo and many other alleged leaders of the CLA fled to neighbouring Botswana before the attacks after the security forces discovered their underground movement and tightened security in the region.

Muyongo and Mafwe Chief Boniface Mamili are exiled in Denmark after Namibia pressured Botswana to send them back home to stand trial.

The 126 in the previous court appearance were all refused bail following several protests from the public and State.

The majority of the alleged separatists are said to hail from the Caprivi’s Mafwe ethnic group, and their country and nationality are reflected on the charge sheets as Caprivi and Caprivians.

Meanwhile, about 13 Namibians are in police custody in Botswana waiting to be sent back home after the Gaborone Magistrate’s Court last year ruled in favour of Namibia.

The 13 jailed and alleged secessionists will stand trial with the rest of the 126 suspects.

Deputy Prosecutor General Lourens Campher handled the State’s case Friday. The 126 suspects remain in custody as the court refused to grant them bail.
- Sapa

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