WINDHOEK – The Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Sebastian Ndeitunga has advised police officers to apply common sense when attending to reports of missing child and not tell complainants to wait for 24 hours before they could open a case of a missing person as this could be too late.
Ndeitunga said police should act immediately and not wait longer especially if the case involves minors. Ndeitunga was responding to questions that there were some dissatisfaction and concerns from members of the public following Cheryl Avihe Ujaha, 9, case whose relatives were told to return to police station after 24 hours to open a case of a missing person.
Ujaha was found dead in a riverbed two days after she went missing from her parent’s home in Katutura. “We must not act like robots. We have rules guiding us but we must use common sense, like who are we looking for, is it Ndeitunga who is 50-years or a child who is two or four-years-old,” said Ndeitunga who added that police need to continue sensitising officers in the charge office because that’s where the public is disappointed.
Similarly, Ndeitunga instructed the police to criminally charge a mother of a four-year-old girl who went missing in Uis, Erongo Region last week.
The mother faces charges of child abuse and child neglect. Ndeitunga said the mother sent the little girl alone a distance of one kilometre away. According to Nampol spokesperson Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi, the report was received on Tuesday at 21h00 that a child from farm Omkhaidare was missing.
According to the mother Angelina /Hones, the child did not return home after she was sent to the neighbours in the afternoon. “The family and the community members started with the search for the child in the area, following footprints in the Kharuxams farms and later on when they couldn’t get hold of the child they reported the incident to the police,” said Shikwambi.
“I instructed the police to charge the mother for abusing the child and sending a four-year-old a distance of one kilometre alone,” stated Ndeitunga who said the child was found the following day confused and exhausted. Ndeitunga said luckily, there are no predators in that area or else this incident could have added to the problem the country is facing.
Ndeitunga added that most children who went missing is a result of their parents who send them to look after cattle. “They are four, five and seven-years old and they are in the field to get lost, that is abuse of children. I know its part of our culture for children to look after cattle but they should determine the age, “advised the police chief.