Police in Erongo region have cautioned women to consider their overall safety, especially when alone and seeking solitude in high-risk areas.
This comes in the wake of an incident in which a 29-year-old resident of Kuisebmund was brutally raped on Monday morning while praying in the dunes at Walvis Bay.
The incident occurred around 09h00 near Narraville. Crime investigations coordinator for the Erongo region Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu said on Wednesday that the unknown suspect approached the woman while praying and demanded her cell phone.
“She did not have her phone, resulting in the suspect threatening her with a knife and forcefully removing her pants before raping her,” Iikuyu explained.
He added that the suspect, though wanted by the police, is still at large.
Police community affairs commander Inspector Iileni Shapumba yesterday urged women to consider their safety, especially at night.
“I know we may not use her case as an example but it is perhaps very important that we reiterate our call to all those believers who are praying in the dunes especially during the dark hours to reconsider their decisions to avoid such harm inflicted on them,” he said.
Shapumba added he is yet to meet that prophet that advises people that God listens better when they pray in the dunes.
“We take cognisance of the fact that people have rights to practise their faith and beliefs and the fact that we should police under the constitutional framework. However, we have to strike a balance between their rights and their safety. Their security is our reason for existence but we cannot deploy police officers to guard them in the dunes,” Shapumba explained.
He urged women to avoid prayer sessions in the dunes, especially when alone, further appealing to residents exercising along the road between Walvis Bay to Swakopmund to equally take precaution.
“We noticed an increased number of women jogging during the morning hours. It is sometimes too misty and there are so many cars using that road. Our concern is that they don’t wear safety clothing and they are just vulnerable to anything,” he said.