BDF, NDF Jointly Address Border Security

Date:

  • The two defence forces to implement the Civil   Military Cooperation Plan 
  • Joint launch of CIMIC to be conducted in both countries
  • CIMIC to sensitise Batswana, Namibians on illegal activities, human-wildlife conflict and poaching
  • Campaigns target 19 villages in Namibia and 21 villages in Botswana

KATIMA MULILO,     NAMIBIA – Following the Inaugural Session of the Botswana-Namibia Bi-National Commission (BNC) held in Gaborone in 2022, which directed the two Defence Forces to implement the Civil Military Cooperation Plan (CIMIC), the duo has since developed an implementation plan.

The decision by the two government to have their defence forces implement the CIMIC was in recognition of existing challenges and the mutual desire to forge closer ties of cooperation between the two countries.

This was revealed by Namibia Defence Force (NDF) Deputy Executive Director Strategy, Policy, Plans and Coordinator Major General Petrus Nathinge during the Joint Media Conference that was held in Katima Mulilo, Namibia this week.

He said in pursuance of the BNC decision, the Chiefs of the Defence Forces of the two countries constituted a Joint Technical Committee to develop a CIMIC Plan. He stated that the two Chief of Defences have also carried a joint border visit, with the view of assessing the security situation along the common border and to engage the Traditional Authorities, recognising their integral role in border areas.

As part of the implementation plan, paramount will be the sensitisation of communities along the common border of the two states on illegal activities such as smuggling of goods and illicit products, poaching, illegal border crossing, illegal fishing among others.

Nathinge noted that their Joint Technical Committee convened in Kasane from 23 to 26 April 2024 to develop the implementation plan of the CIMIC, highlighting the activities to be carried out, the sequence of implementation, the timelines as well as the stakeholders to be involved. He said that they have divided the border area in three sections that have varying concentration of civilian population and wild animals.

He revealed that the common security challenges in those sectors include poaching of iconic species such as rhinos and elephants by international poachers for their horns and tusks. Nathinge has added that there are instances of subsistence poaching, livestock rustling, illegal fishing, illegal wildlife trade and other illicit activities.

He noted that the sensitisation of the civilian communities on the importance of the wildlife to the economies of the two countries will assist in reducing illegal activities. Nathinge stated that the activities will conducted by Namibia Defence Force (NDF) and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in collaboration with different stakeholders.

According to him, before the commencement of the campaigns, there will be a Joint Launch of the CIMIC Plan in both Botswana and Namibia by the Ministers of Defence. He said that the launch in Botswana will be done in Kasane on the 11th June 2024 while in Namibia the launch will be done in Katima Mulilo on the 13th June 2024.The launch will be held under the theme: ‘‘Working Together to Ensure Peaceful Co-existence, Security and Human Development’’.

The conduct of the campaigns will be a continuous process and the campaigns will be conducted concurrently for four consecutive days in both countries. Nathinge has revealed that the first campaign will be carried out from 09 to 12 July 2024 while the second one will start from August 6th – 9th August 2024.The campaigns are targeting 19 villages in Namibia and 21 villages in Botswana.

He expressed that the two Defence Forces together with different stakeholders will continuously assess the Civil Military Cooperation Environment to determine opportunities for humanitarian intervention to improve the livelihoods of the people living along the common border. Nathinge said during the implementation of the CIMIC Plan, other activities such as Coordinated Patrols will continue as scheduled.

For his part, BDF Commander Ground Force Command and Joint Force Commander Major General Simon Barwabatsile said that citizens of the two countries share the same resources and are related, therefore their objectives must always be put at the top of the priorities. He said that the activities of CIMIC Plan will educate the communities about the importance of flora and fauna, and also promote human-wildlife coexistence.

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