Angola + 2 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 29 March

News and Press Release
Originally published
NAMIBIA: Torture allegations an "internal" matter
The Namibian defence ministry said it would not disclose the findings of a probe into allegations that police had tortured suspects rounded up in the wake of a separatist attack in the northeast Caprivi Strip last year.

Instead, 'The Namibian' newspaper reported on Wednesday that the ministry had decided to deal with the matter "internally". It said at least five police officers had been implicated in the widely publicised case. Dozens of suspects rounded up in the wake of the separatist attack on Katima Mulilo and the Mpacha military base have sought damages for torture. They claimed in affidavits they had been whipped, kicked and beaten, allegedly by police officers. Graphic photos of injuries sustained by some suspects, including former opposition member of parliament, Geoffrey Mwilima, were published in the Namibian media last year.

"Defence has its own jurisdiction, its own type of courts and its own way of handling disciplinary matters. We don't need to send our cases to the Prosecutor General," a defence ministry legal official was quoted as saying. The torture allegations featured in a report last week by Amnesty International which said any findings should be made public and the suspects brought to justice.

NAMIBIA: Suspected UNITA rebels clash with border police

Namibian Special Field Force (SFF) police and suspected Angolan UNITA rebels clashed on Saturday at a border post 120 km east of the Kavango regional capital of Rundu, 'The Namibian' reported on Wednesday.

It said a number of UNITA men had attacked the border post at Mbambi in clashes which followed an ambush by Namibian security forces. It said police gave few other details other than to say a member of the SFF had been wounded. No other casualties were reported.

SWAZILAND: New development projects

Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini of Swaziland has unveiled major new development projects as part of a Millennium plan aimed at boosting employment and expanding transport, industry and tourism infrastructure.

News reports on Wednesday said the biggest project involved a new international airport for the Kingdom which shares borders with Mozambique and South Africa. The Matsapha International Airport in Swaziland cannot accommodate large passenger jets. A new hotel with 500 rooms billed as the largest in the country, and a nearby convention centre are also planned.

Factory shells for lease to manufacturing and other industry will be erected in all four of the country's regions, the reports quoted Dlamini as saying. He said the projects would be implemented within the next three years through a mix of government, private industry and donor funding.


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