Namibian police kill six-year-old Angolan refugee

News and Press Release
Originally published
WINDHOEK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Namibian police said on Monday one of its crime prevention units had fired on a group of Angolan refugees in the country's north, killing a six-year-old girl.

"The crime prevention unit opened fire on those (refugees) that were running...In the process they apparently tragically killed a six-year-old girl," chief inspector Hophni Hamufungu told Reuters.

The unit had been called by a tourist lodge manager near the border town of Rundu, who told Reuters by telephone that he noticed the group of people early in the morning and feared they were either Angolan government soldiers or UNITA rebels.

He said he later noticed the people were refugees, not soldiers, and asked them to move on. Early on Monday morning he heard shots being fired.

It was not clear how many refugees were in the group and if the rest had escaped. Police said the incident was under investigation.

Angola's brutal civil war has displaced around two million people -- about a sixth of the population -- and 200 die each day from starvation, according to U.N. estimates.

Namibia's north has been the scene of skirmishes and ambushes in recent weeks, since Namibia agreed to let the Angolan army launch attacks on the UNITA rebel movement from Namibian territory.

Last Monday, a family of French tourists was the target of an ambush in the country's north that killed the three children and left the parents seriously wounded. The Namibian government blamed the attack on UNITA.

The fighting has dealt a blow to the tourist industry in Namibia, a popular destination for tourists who are drawn by its desert scenery and remote game parks.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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