Rundu — The case of nine teenagers who allegedly gang-raped a 14-year-old girl last year at Ntara Combined School has been remanded to October 17, to allow for further police investigations.
A decision is also awaited from the Prosecutor-General's office presumably because of the ages of the suspects.
The boys made another appearance in the Rundu Magistrate's Court on Monday morning before acting Magistrate Hendrik van Wyk.
Aged between 14 and 17 when the crime was committed, all nine accused are currently in the custody of their guardians.
During an earlier routine court appearance, the accused opted to apply for legal aid due to the seriousness of the charges that they face. The boys and the victim are all learners at Ntara Combined School.
Police information suggest that the alleged offence occurred after one of the accused lured the victim to a nearby bush, while on her way home from a funeral, following which the suspects allegedly gang-raped her.
Notwithstanding the seriousness of the crime, the parents of the victim were seemingly more interested in reporting the crime to the Ukwangali Traditional Authority, rather than laying charges with the Namibian police.
Traditional authorities still dish out fines to perpetrators - mainly cash or livestock - a factor believed by many to be the reason why the relatives of victims usually opt for matters to be settled in a traditional court.
It is also alleged that the nine boys were only arrested after Rundu police officers heard of the incident from sources, because the relatives of the victim did not want to report the matter.
Early last year, angry parents disrupted school in support of the suspects and demanded to know why the teachers at the school had reported the case to the police after the parents of the victim and suspects resolved to take the matter to the traditional court.