Child neglect rampant

Police remove babies from shebeens

06 December 2018 | Crime

A crime-fighting operation led by female police officers has resulted in the extraction of 56 children younger than 18 and nine mothers carrying babies from shebeens, bars and liquor stores over a period of just five days.

All liquor outlet, bar and shebeen owners were given written warnings for allowing minors onto their premises and 182 illegal liquor outlets were closed out of 714 inspected.

Major-General Anna-Marie Nainda of the Namibian police yesterday said that child abuse in Namibia is rising and needs to be dealt with all the might of the law.

“Neglect of children has become a burning and critical problem. Some women in our community just don't care about their minor kids that are roaming around,” she said.

She said if any children are found abandoned, roaming the streets without adequate supervision or are taken into places they are not supposed to be, “we are going to open criminal cases and we are going to arrest those people”.

The police escorted mothers with young children from bars, shebeens and gambling houses during the operation.

During an inspection at a Klein Windhoek gambling house in the early morning hours, the police discovered drunken teenage girls, who were promptly removed.

Operation Basadi was the second phase of a SADC initiative against child abuse that took place simultaneously in all SADC member countries from 28 November to 2 December. The first phase was conducted in March. Basadi is a Setswana word meaning “women”.

The operation, executed by 1 840 female police officers and members of several ministries and private anti-crime groups, also resulted in a charge of child trafficking being made against two Namibian men in the Kunene Region.

The men were arrested after an Angolan boy younger than 15 was reported missing on 10 November. He was found a day later, having suffered multiple injuries.

It is alleged that the boy's mother handed him over to a man. He was taken to a cattle post to look after livestock.

He was severely assaulted when a sheep went missing. He fled and was later discovered by the police.

The five-day police operation took place in all 14 regions of Namibia and led to the arrest of 215 men and 34 women, one of whom was charged with child neglect.

Nainda said the first operation in March resulted in 167 arrests, compared to 249 arrests during the second phase. During the operation, 42 cases of domestic violence were reported and 32 arrests made.

Nainda said of the 17 protection orders issued during the operation, six were to women and 11 to men. She said this showed that women were also capable of violent behaviour. Two rape cases were reported, in which two arrests were made.





The operation was also aimed at raising awareness of the resources available to battered women and children, developing risk profiles of targeted crime types, and building operational capacity.

It focused on combating rape, murder, domestic disputes, sexual abuse, underage drinking, child labour and child neglect.

A total of 149 awareness campaigns on various media platforms ran during the operation.

The police also reached out to vulnerable communities and donated a host of items, including food and clothing.

In addition, two Namibian men were arrested in the Kavango East region for illegal possession of two elephant tusks valued at N$28 000.

Fifty-eight unpolished diamonds, whose value is still being determined, were also discovered in their possession.

Eighteen cases of drug dealing and possession were opened, in which dagga and Mandrax with a street value of nearly N$65 000 were seized and 12 men and six women were arrested.

Immigration authorities and police arrested 40 illegal immigrants, including 15 Zimbabweans, three Chinese and 11 Angolans, during Operation Basadi.

A total of 2 845 counterfeit products were confiscated and 169 vehicle and foot patrols were conducted.

Close to 110 roadblocks were set up and 913 random stop-and-searches were conducted.

JANA-MARI SMITH