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Namibia: Whites could be killed
Posted: Monday, January 12, 2004

Berlin - A high-ranking representative of the Herero tribe in Namibia said there could be a Zimbabwe-style backlash against ethnic German whites if Berlin refuses to pay reparations.

"Don't forget, our young generation does not have the angelic patience of the elders," Mburumba Kernina, an advisor to Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, told Berlin daily, Der Tagesspiegel.

"If there is not agreement (on reparations), they will probably take matters into their own hands. What happened in Zimbabwe can easily repeat itself here," referring to the eviction of white farmers - sometimes violently - orchestrated by President Robert Mugabe in the name of land reform.

Germany's ambassador to Namibia, Wolfgang Massing, at a ceremony on Sunday expressed "regret" over the ruthless quelling of a Herero tribe uprising 100 years ago in which tens of thousands were killed by German troops.

His statement is the closest a German government representative has come to an apology - a demand repeatedly made by the Herero - for what historians have described as a genocide. But he stopped short of offering reparations.

The Herero have filed a lawsuit in the United States demanding payment from the German government and companies which allegedly benefited from German rule.

"The future of this country - reconciliation, development and security - depends on the outcome of the suit against Germany," Kerina said.

Namibia has a population of 1.82 million people, of whom about 25 000 people are German-speaking whites, most of them descendants of colonists.

Since 1990, Germany, Namibia's largest donor, has pumped $644m into the southern African country.


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