• Short Summary

    Fighting on the border between Namibia (South West Africa) and Angola has caused nearly two thousand refugees to cross the Cubango River into Namibia.

  • Description

    LV Cubango River ZOOM TO Calai two in distance

    SV Blankets on pole PAN TO refugee village

    SV Africans in village with children and preparing food (2 shots)

    SV Etme Kottier speaking to reporter, with scene of village in background (3 shots)

    KOTTIER: "I must say that for me I have been very well looked after with the UNITA troops, they always have been awfully kind and did the best they could for us. Of course the biggest problem on all the way is the food problem. Well I was eating very well so I was never hungry but the people I came with, especially the soldiers, very often they had just a sweet potatoes for the whole day and nothing else. But something which has made a big impression on me is that these people were ready to suffer to save their country."

    REPORTER: "So their morale is high?"

    KOTTIER: "Yes I mean because they very often were singing there is no victory without sacrifice. And really they meant it.

    REPORTER: "At one stage you were also in the hands of the MPLA. Did you hear any or see any German speaking soldiers?"

    KOTTIER: "Well there, er, I would not say German speaking, there were or are a lot of Germans from East Germany and they are working especially on the barrage at Matala. There are quite a number."

    REPORTER: "What about Cubans?"

    KOTTIER: "But, Cubans, of course. I was living by myself, I was the only white on a small station. I met Cubans but I never had something to do with them you know. And lately the Cubans were in the Matala place. When there were elections here they left Matala and I think most of them came perhaps to the border. Now in Matala we only have some russians, Bulgarians who are looking after especially for agriculture."

    REPORTER: "Are you glad to see that river behind you?"

    KOTTIER: "Oh, my, to tell you what it meant for us when exactly four months after my capture we got the word on the eighteenth of May, 'now you get out, you go' and when we met the first South African people I almost wanted to kiss them because so wonderful, so wonderful, nobody can know what it means when suddenly you realise it is finished, you are free."

    Initials HS/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Fighting on the border between Namibia (South West Africa) and Angola has caused nearly two thousand refugees to cross the Cubango River into Namibia. Some reports say that Unita (National Union for the Liberation of Angola) made a series of raids on Namibia, then later (May 21) Angola's Ministry of Defence alleged that South African forces invaded and bombed two towns in southern Angola.

    SYNOPSIS: Here the Cubango River near the Angolan town of Calai is shallow enough to walk across. A trickle of refugees crossing into Namibia has increased to two thousand in the course of one week during the renewed fighting.

    Among those who crossed into Namibia was 64-year old Etme Kottier, a Swiss nurse captured by UNITA four months ago.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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