In London, a spokesman for the South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) claimed on Friday (17 August) that many of their members detained by the South African police have had limbs severed and their eyes and ears removed.
SWAPO Official Peter Katjavivi speaking (3 shots)
TRANSCRIPTS: KATJAVIVI: "There have been widespread mass arrests of members and supporters. We also have received alarming reports and information of the detention of our people who were abducted from Cassinga after the massacre of our people by the South African occupation troops in May 1978."
FARROW: "What are these reports?"
KATJAVIVI: "They refer to detailed account and they give us an account of the conditions in which our people are being held, their health at the camp called Hardhap Dam camp in Mariental province in the Southern part of Namibia. Many of our people who were held there have lost vital physical parts, for instance ears, eyes, legs, arms and in fact we are extremely worried about this and because of that we have arranged a campaign to inform governments, international organisations. In fact we have been in touch will the Red Cross in Geneva, the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, and we are currently having talks with Amnesty International with a view to try and get a mission off the ground to go and visit this place and to make sure that the truth is known about the situation."
FARROW: "How many of your people do you believe are detained now?"
KATJAVIVI: "Well about one hundred and thirty are detained at the Mariental camp. Those are the Cassinga prisoners. In fact they are the men and women who should be treated as prisoners of war, because they were captured or abducted during the Cassinga attack in southern Angola. In addition to that we have several hundred leaders and members of the movement who are detained in prisons in Windhoek, in Windhoek central prison, in Gobabis and other places and of course we do not cut out the countless numbers of men and women who are detained in Ovamboland."
REPORTER: BRENDON FARROW
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Background: In London, a spokesman for the South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) claimed on Friday (17 August) that many of their members detained by the South African police have had limbs severed and their eyes and ears removed. Peter Katjavivi, the Organisations Secretary for Publicity and Information, said SWAPO is appealing to the international community to have the conditions in which its members are detained thoroughly investigated. Visnew's Brendon Farrow interviewed Mr. Katjavivi.