Report from Ongwediva

(Report Number 1)
by Mike Fleshman, The Africa Fund
New York, New York, United States
Sunday, June 25, 1989
Publisher: The Africa Fund
4 pages
Type: Report
Coverage in Africa: Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Report from Mike Fleshman in Ongwediva, Namibia, where he served as an observer for Namibia's independence election. Fleshman reports on the extremely tense situation in northern Namibia, where intimidation, harassment and terrorizing by members of the Koevoet (a paramilitary unit set up by the South African government and known for its brutality) are prevalent, especially against people living in small rural kraals. United Nations officials in the north have told the South West Africa Police (SWAPOL) that, unless the Casspir armored vehicles are taken off the road and something is done with Koevoet, the U.N.would refuse to certify that the elections were free and fair. Faced with this challenge, local residents fear South Africa will provoke an incident to justify the continuing presence of Koevoet. South Africa has been claiming that SWAPO is violating the international agreement by sending fighters from its People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) military wing back into Namibia with returning refugees. According to Fleshman, the head of South West Africa Intelligence in the north said between 1,500 and 2,000 Koevoet were now serving as part of SWAPOL, a unit set up by the South African government which, under the U.N. plan, is in charge of maintaining order. All other military and paramilitary units have been ordered to disband or remain confined to their base. However, rather than disband, the Koevoet has ostensibly been integrated into the SWAPOL. The various ethnic battalions in the South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) were technically decommissioned 10 or 11 days ago. These forces, which in the northern area are the 101st battalion, have been kept on the payroll and are now being employed mostly as drivers and the like by political parties such as the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA).
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to The Africa Fund).
Collection: George M. Houser (Africa collection), Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections