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Namibie: Security detainees visited in the Caprivi Strip

02-09-1999 News Release 99/36

The ICRC has completed an initial series of visits to security detainees arrested by the Namibian authorities in early August under a state of emergency which has since been lifted. The arrests took place in the wake of secessionist activities in the Caprivi Strip, a narrow piece of land lying between Angola and Botswana.

The Ministry of Defence authorized the ICRC to visit the security detainees on 17 August. The same day a team of three delegates, including a doctor, went to the police station in Katima Mulilo. Visits continued on 20 August at the Grootfontein military base and prison and were completed on 25 August when delegates saw one detainee at the civilian hospital in Windhoek. A total of 112 detainees was registered by the ICRC and 77 Red Cross messages were collected which will shortly be distributed to the families of the detained.

The visits were carried out in accordance with standard ICRC procedures, including private interviews with the detainees. In addition, the ICRC, which has been present in Katima Mulilo since the clashes started, assessed the situation in humanitarian terms and provided the town's hospital with emergency medical supplies furnished by the Namibia Red Cross.