NDF features in Bwabwata shooting
Wounded little girl, her sister and mother flown to Windhoek – NDF Anti-poaching unit suspected
A holiday in the Northeast of Namibia ended for a Namibian family in a nightmare when several shots were fired at their vehicle in the Buffalo Core area east of the Okavango River in the Bwabwata National Park. Harald Keil (33) and his wife Teresa (33), three and a half year daughter Alexia and two year old Caytlin from Windhoek drove around 15.00 hours yesterday (Wednesday 15. March 2017) along one of the routes in the park on the banks of the Okavango river. Suddenly a man appeared showing them to slow down and stop. Harald Keil saw two Namibian Defence Force vehicles a bit further on and decided it would be safer to stop there.
When he stopped at the vehicles several armed men in uniforms and civilian clothes appeared out of the bush and surrounded the vehicle. Peter Keil, Harald’s father who flew to Bagani late afternoon after hearing of the incident, said, that his family had told him, that the apparent NDF member were very arrogant, demanding them to get out of the vehicle, ripping open the driver’s door, touching Teresa, putting their hands inside the vehicle and behaving very rudely.
When Harald Keil insisted on seeing an ID he was told that “we don´t have ID´s look at the uniform and get out”. The Namibian tourist feared for his and his family’s safety and started the car and sped away.
The NDF members fired at the vehicle and at least eight bullets hit the car. One tyre was punctured but Keil sped down the tracks, onto the dirt road and out of the park. He drove on the rim to Divundu where he stopped. Soon the NDF was there and one officer “wanted to talk to him behind a building” but Keil refused. His three-year-old daughter was bleeding from the head and they thought that a bullet had hit her.
The little girl was rushed to the Andara hospital by an ambulance and a plane from E-Med was ordered from Windhoek.
Peter Keil, who is well-known in conservation circles because he flies every year free of charge with his plane for the vulture tagging project, was also flown up to Bagani in the Kavango-East region. The mother and her injured daughter as well as the two-year-old arrived in Windhoek on board of the rescue flight last night at 20.35 hours. Alexia was immediately taken to one of the private hospitals in the city by ambulance. Her condition is stable her mother said.
Several attempts to get any information from the police in the Kavango region were in vain since most high-ranking officers were in meetings in Rundu in preparation of the Independence celebrations next week in the border town. Chief Inspector Chrispin Mubebo said he will drive to Divundu today (Thursday) to get first-hand information, since he has no detailed report yet.
It is said, that it is not the first time, that the NDF unit has harassed tourists and guides in the park.