Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Forty-one refugees from Namibia’s Osire refugee camp are stranded in a 'no man’s land' between Namibia and Botswana after they were secretly transported by a local hum an rights organization citing ‘security fears’.
A livid Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba told national television, NBC on Sunday night that 41 refugees, believed to be Congolese nationals, had been transported to the border between Namibian and Botswana by Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR).
The refugees are now stranded at the border post after Botswana immigration offi cials refused them entry into Botswana.
Reports said controversial NSHR director Phil ya Nangoloh, who transported the r efugees, dumped them at the border post and returned to Windhoek, after they were refused entry into the neighbouring countr y.
A visibly-angry Pohamba told state television that Namibia complies with all int ernational protocol on refugees, adding that the NSHR had acted in an ‘irresponsible manner.
’ The President also denied allegations by the human rights organization that the refugees’ lives were in danger.
“They dumped refugees, including women and children, in an international area be tween Botswana and Namibia without food in a cold weather,” Pohamba said.
The president further said that the refugees were removed from the refugee camp without the authority of home affairs and immigration officials.
“It is not true.
Our government has never threatened the safety of anybody or re fugees from Osire Camp,” Pohamba said.
State-owned daily, New Era, reported Monday morning that the refugees were still camped on 'no man’s land' between Namibia and Botswana.
But the NSHR has refuted allegations of wrong doing, maintaining that the refuge es’ lives were in danger.
“Understandably these refugees have therefore decided that their lives are in da nger in the country and that they are unable and unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of Pohamba’s administration.
Hence they fled the country last week,” NSHR board chairperson Sheeli Shangula said in a statement Monday morning.
The human right body raised political tensions two years ago when it lodged an a pplication with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to have former President Sam Nujoma and three other government officials tried for alleg ed war crimes committed against fellow black Namibians during the liberation str u ggle.
The ICC threw out the application for lack of evidence.
“Let me also make it abundantly clear to both the government and all and sundry that we stand firmly behind Mr.
Phil ya Nangoloh and all other NSHR staff members for consistently, effectively and fearlessly standing up in defence of h uman rights and democratic governance in our country,” Shangula said.