Namibia: Chained for 'Stealing Sweets'

Chained for 'stealing sweets'

News - National | 2019-08-20

by Tuyeimo Haidula

A CASE of child abuse has been opened against a resident of Okambonde in the Oniipa constituency of the Oshikoto region who allegedly chained a 13-year-old boy around the waist and left leg for nine days.

The boy was allegedly chained for stealing sweets from a tuck shop.

The man, aged 63, is the guardian of the boy, but cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim. He is being investigated by the Onayena police for the brutal act after a concerned community member alerted the police about the chained child.

Oshikoto police regional commander Armas Shivute told The Namibian yesterday that a case was opened on Monday after he intervened in the matter.

He said although he does not have the full details of the case yet, "it cannot be right to chain someone, worse still a child, as it violates their human rights".

Shivute added that this is what prompted him to instruct his officers to investigate the case.

"We are working together with social workers from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. Whether an arrest will be made, I am not sure. It is yet to be determined," he said.

Simon Uusiku, station commander at the Onayena Police Station, said the suspect has not been arrested yet because he told the police that he has been seeking for help from social workers, and has often informed them that he wishes to relieve himself of the duties as a guardian of the victim.

"The case is opened, but the man has not been arrested. The man has been reporting to the social workers that the child is stealing, and they should take him away. He demanded that the boy be taken away because he is ever paying for damages. He got tired and frustrated. The social workers from Onayena have not come to his aid, and he decided to chain the boy," Uusiku explained.

"We need to collect all those details, then we can see if he can be prosecuted or not," he added.

Uusiku said they plan to return the child to his paternal grandparents, who live at Onyuulaye in the same region.

The victim has been kept at the police station since Sunday, and has been unchained. He is in Grade 3 at a local school.

He spoke to The Namibian in a telephonic interview, and narrated that he broke school windows from the tuck shop to steal sweets, which led to his expulsion from the school in the same region.

The victim, the lastborn of three, said his parents died when he was young, and his 'uncle' then took him in.

"I just wanted sweets from the tuck shop, so I broke the windows and ate all of them," he said.

During the nine days that he had been chained, he has, however, been able to eat. The suspect informed the police that the chain was only to keep the victim under control.

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