Page 2, 8th February 1985

8th February 1985
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Page 2, 8th February 1985 — Namibia church outlaws remarks by MPs
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Namibia church outlaws remarks by MPs

'No discrimination' claim condemned

by Jack CrSullia an NAMIBIA'S Catholic church leaders have condemned comments made by British Catholic MP, Nicholas Winterton during his recent factfinding visit to the wartorn region of southern Africa, The Conservative MP's remarks and those of his three Parliamentary colleagues had "undermined" "what little hope we have left" of the implementation of United Nations resolutions calling for the independence of Namibia, said Fr P I lenning, VicarGeneral of the diocese of Windhoek.

Mr Winterton had claimed in his week-long visit to Namibia that racial discrimination no longer excited the country and that Soviet intet vention was the only reason why the armed struggle continued against the South African army.

Meanwhile a fellow visitor, Conservative MP, Michael Brown had claimed that the Namibian guerrilla movement, SWAPO, had been defeated in certain areas by lack of popular support.

Their message contrasted sharply with the repeated assertions of Archbishop Denis Hurley, President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference.

On the even of last week's SACBC plenary session, Archbishop Hurley reported that militarisation or the country is rapidly increasing and related stories of the burning of houses, torture and killings by the Koevoet — a unit of the South African army operating in Namibia.

The archbishop goes on trial on February 18, when he will have to defend himself against charges of making unsubstantiated allegations of atrocities commited by the South African security forces.

He also claimed last week that the South African Government had embarked on a security force campaign to "win the hearts and minds of the people". Operation "Stanga", he said, was a campaign to reduce support for SWAPO by providing social services and offering money to informants on SWAPO.

Although he agreed that "SWAPO claims to be Marxist", Archbishop Hurley stressed after the bishops' meeting that "many of its soldiers are Christians" and argued that he was "confident that a future SWAPO government would act with responsibility".

, It was clear that if SWAPO attained power there would be huge land reforms — which were vital — and the present situation of extensive white land ownership would no longer be feasible, said the archbishop.

More evidence. has emerged on conditions in Namibia with the publication of interviews with Namibians, in preparation for this Sunday's Day of Prayer for Namibia.

The interviews, by an SACBC observer suggest that units of the South African army are following the practice of the old Rhodesian Selous Scouts by dressing as guerrillas forcing villagers to help them. If the villagers aid the "guerrillas" they are beaten up as sympathisers with SWAPO, allege the interviewers.

One interview with a SWAPO guerrilla involves allegations of massacres by South Africans of Namibians in refugee camps in southern Angola.

The guerrilla is insistent, as are the other interviewers that the South African policy of military control and gentle persuasion is not going to silence demands for Namibian independence and support for SWAPO.




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