Child dies after alleged molestation by father 

Home Crime and Courts Child dies after alleged molestation by father 
Child dies after alleged molestation by father 

The death of a 13-year-old girl from Olukula village in the Ohangwena region has sent shockwaves through her community after it was alleged that she had been repeatedly sexually molested by her father.

The girl allegedly died on 27 January 2022 at the Okongo State Hospital after showing several symptoms of HIV/AIDS. She was, however, not tested to prove that she was indeed positive. 

Although the incident has since been brought to the attention of Okongo councillor Efraim Shipindo, who subsequently reported it to the police, no case was opened in that regard. 

“It is unfortunate that there is nothing that can be done by the police at this moment because the matter was brought to the police at the last minute – the child was already buried. Secondly, there was no investigation done by the police while the victim was hospitalised, nor did the police receive any medical report regarding the cause of her death,” said Ohangwena police spokesperson Kaume Itumba.

Shocked by the incident, human rights activist Rosa Namises has called for the exhumation of the body, maintaining that the victim deserves justice, even in death.

 “This case is very painful and shocking. The deceased’s body should be exhumed and be taken for a post-mortem [examination] to determine the real cause of her death, and the father should also be tested,” she charged.

She also called on the Ombudsman to get involved in the matter, adding that the police needs to do more.

A heartbroken Christofina Stefanus, who is a relative of the victim, claims that apart from her parents, other relatives only learned about the girl’s traumatic life on the day of her memorial service. 

Stefanus alleged that a neighbour confessed that the girl had run away from home several times, hid at her house, and confided in her about the regular rape at the hands of her biological father. 

 “One day, she went back home accompanied by the neighbour, who confronted the father. The father replied that she is his own daughter and he can do with her as he pleased, and the neighbour should mind her own business,” she said.

The neighbour then encouraged the mother to open a case with the police, but the mother allegedly refused, claiming that she would not report her physically challenged husband.  

As incidents of rape intensified, the neighbour offered to house the victim, but this upset her father, who allegedly retaliated by taking her out of school.   

 “The neighbour gave up. But she never informed the police or headman or relatives about this serious case,” said Stefanus.

 Stefanus further explained that the victim later developed a series of illnesses. The father allegedly refused that she be taken to hospital, despite the seriousness of her illness, until her health deteriorated.  

“It was in January this year when the concerned neighbour went to visit the victim at her parents’ house, and found her in a critical condition. She had lost so much weight, her hair was falling out, and she had some wounds. The neighbour convinced the mother to take her to the clinic,” the relative continued.

While at the Olukula Clinic, the neighbour sent a message to one of the nurses to test the girl for HIV because she had allegedly been sexually abused by her father, who is believed to be HIV-positive. The father is allegedly well- known by the nurses because he regularly collects his anti-retroviral medication from that clinic.

 “Unfortunately, the victim could not be tested because there were no HIV testing kits at the clinic. She was given medication and sent home. But her condition worsened while at home,” Stefanus explained.

Later that afternoon, the neighbour called an ambulance from the Okongo Hospital to collect the child from home and to take her to hospital. Her parents refused to accompany her in the ambulance, and stayed at home. Stefanus, who was at the nearby cuca shop, decided to get into the ambulance and accompanied her to the hospital.

 “We arrived at the hospital around 19h00, and she was taken straight to the ICU. She sadly passed on at midnight,” she added.

“With the help of the councillor of Okongo, we managed to report the case to the police station commander. But nobody has come back to us until today,” Stefanus lamented.