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Namibians crossing into Angola illegally… trading livestock for food

Some Namibians are now taking advantage of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Angola and are crossing the border illegally into Angola trading livestock in exchange for food.

The livestock, especially goats, are sold for maize meal, tinned fish, sugar and cooking oil, among other food items.

The World Food Programme has warned of severe food shortages and rising hunger in Angola, as the country is gripped by its worst drought in nearly four decades. Angola’s rainy season, which normally runs from November to April, is delivering a trickle of the rainfall needed to grow a good crop and raise healthy livestock. The abnormal dryness is adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the country’s southwestern provinces. Deputy home affairs minister Daniel Kashikola told New Era yesterday the Namibian-Angolan border remains closed in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“People must stop this illegal practice. Their conduct is illegal as the borders remain closed,” he reiterated.

Meanwhile, Kashikola said government will profile the migrants who are in the country and once classified, all relevant stakeholders will congregate to discuss the migrant crisis at length. At the moment, there are two groups of migrants: those who travel in search for food and seasonal job seekers who have been coming to Etunda irrigation project to assist with crop production.

“This is a crisis. They are already here. We cannot push them back seeing the situation in which they are in,” he said.  Kashikola, however, acknowledged that border patrol remains a challenge. “Border patrols are ongoing and those found crossing the borders will be prohibited from coming into Namibia.”  He stressed that Namibia cannot officially allow people in because that will be violating the laws of Angola, whose borders are also closed.

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