Namibia’s defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo has commissioned a new jetty and naval base on Impalila Island in the Zambezi Region of the country.
The facilities were commissioned on 21 June and include accommodation, a sewerage treatment plant, electricity plant, and a floating jetty for docking with a slipway for launching boats.
The base was previously used by the South African Defence Force before Namibia’s independence and then used as a secondary school until 2012. In 2014 the Ministry of Defence began rehabilitating the site, which was completed in October 2017.
Ya Ndakolo said the base was constructed to reduce the security challenges of the region, including illegal border crossing, unregulated fishing, poaching, theft and drug smuggling. The Namibian navy also established a new naval district covering the Zambezi, Chobe and Okavango rivers.
“The navy conducted individual and joint operations with the Namibian Police Force, Impalila Conservancy Authority, local community, Botswana Defence Force and police. These operations reduced the threat of crime in the area and made the local community safer,” Ya Ndakolo is reported by The Namibian as saying.
He added that the improved security created by naval patrols from the base enhances cooperation between Namibia’s neighbours Zambia and Botswana.
“The mission of the NDF members deployed here on Impalila Island is to provide security by patrolling the Namibia-Botswana and Namibia-Zambia borders in order to provide a variety of services to the community, including law enforcement, boat safety inspections, flood evacuations, medical assistance and water safety education,” said Ya Ndakolo.