AN 11-year-old boy – described as an habitual housebreaker by the police – continues to languish in the Otjomuise Police Station, with his mother saying she fears living with him in the same house.

The boy, who cannot be named, was arrested on 10 May for housebreaking and was initially detained at the Katutura Police Station, but was later transferred to the Otjomuise Police Station.

According to his mother, he was released in the same week, but was rearrested the following week.

He appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court on 12 May and the case was postponed to 4 June.

According to his 33-year-old mother, he constantly runs away from home to do drugs and to break into people’s homes.

The woman, who has to remain anonymous to protect the minor, says the boy, who is in Grade 6 at a primary school at Katutura, frequents the house of a 20-year-old man at Dolam, who has recruited him to sell drugs.

“I cannot leave my son home alone. Recently from Monday to Wednesday I took him to work with me. On a Thursday I didn’t have taxi money for both of us, so I left him at home. When I came back from work, he was not at home. He ran away with my keys and I had to sleep at a neighbour’s house,” she says.

“I have numbers of social workers and police officers who call me every time to fetch my son. They say go discipline your son. He is your child. I ask them if they are waiting for him to kill or hurt someone so they can take action,” she says.

She says the boy was raised by her aunt since he was a year old, and only started living with her last year.

“I fear living with him in the same house,” she says.

According to the boy’s teacher, he attempted to attack a student teacher, and this was not the first such incident he was involved in, she says.

“I took time to talk to the boy, and realised he is not troublesome. He just lacks love. He loves attention. He is a good boy and is intelligent,” she says.

The teacher claims the boy’s mother once left him at an orphanage at Katutura.

According to a caregiver who lived with the boy, he broke into her house 10 times and stole gadgets, clothes and money.

“I stayed with the boy for six months. He has a sleeping disorder and would roll around in bed while sleeping. We took him to a psychiatrist. He also tried to rape another boy at the home. One day I saw him with a drug lord and asked him if he smokes and drinks, and he confessed that he smokes,” she said.

She says the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has to implement a system to protect children, because the current system is not efficient.

The caregiver said the boy often sneaked into her house as early as four in the morning, takes a bath, sleeps and disappears again.

“However, I never saw him intoxicated, nor was he ever violent to me,” she said.

The boy’s uncle, who has also lived with him at some stage, said he has been troublesome since he was a toddler, which became worse as he got older.

‘WE DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TAKE HIM’

National police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi has confirmed the 11-year-old is currently detained at the Otjomuise Police Station.

Shikwambi says the child is a habitual housebreaker and has been in and out of police cells.

“He was always left in the custody of his mother since it is law that when a minor is involved in any criminal activities, cases can be opened, but they will be left in the care of their parents,” she says.

“The minor is still at the police station, because we do not know where to take him. His mother has refused to take him in again because he continues to steal and break into houses,” Shikwambi says. 

“We are keeping him while soliciting advice from the social workers and the courts,” she says. 

Gender ministry spokesperson Lukas Haufiku says the role of the ministry through social workers is to work with the family.

The ministry has social workers routinely working at court to assess children in conflict with the law, he says.

He said in the majority of cases children are placed in the care of their parents, who are their legal caretakers and guardians.

“The court usually sets aside a special court to deal with cases involving children under the age of 18,” he says.

 

 

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