Namibia + 1 more

Namibia: Concern for Burundians

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JOHANNESBURG, 18 February (IRIN) - The humanitarian community in Namibia has said it was growing concerned at the plight of increasing numbers of people entering the country from southern Angola who were being rounded up by Namibian security forces.
Sources told IRIN on Friday many people were being detained by Namibian security forces along the border, where since December Angolan forces have been given the right to launch attacks against UNITA rebels from Namibian territory.

The sources said they were checking on reports this week, for example, that police in the town of Katima Mulilo, the capital of the northeast Caprivi Strip, had detained nine Burundians in a local township.

The independent daily, 'The Namibian' said the nine had been held at the nearby Ngweze township. They included a woman, a young baby, boys aged between 6 and 17 and young men between 25 and 35 years' old. It said the group claimed to be asylum seekers, and that police were seeking to establish why they had entered the remote north eastern sector of the country.

In recent weeks, tensions along the border have increased following a number of UNITA retaliatory attacks which have claimed the lives of more than a score of Namibian nationals travelling the area's isolated roads. These attacks also claimed the lives of three French tourists in the Caprivi and a number of villages along the border have been ransacked.

Human rights groups in Namibia have repeatedly accused the government of rounding up Angolan refugees and handing them over to the Angolan army.

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