Mother who abandoned her child remanded in custody

Niël Terblanché

Ndapewa Abed, the 24-year-old woman who stands accused of abandoning her baby in the dunes on the outskirts of Walvis Bay during her first court appearance was remanded in custody of the Namibian Police until the middle of June.

Abed made her first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning where she was formally informed about the charges related to child neglect and abandonment against her.

During the court proceedings, she was informed that she exposed her 16-month-old daughter to undue danger when she left her alone in the dune field just north of the Narraville neighbourhood of Walvis Bay on Saturday.

On Saturday, the Namibian Police distributed a bulletin in which they requested the public’s assistance in identifying the baby girl and her mother.

A few hours later, detectives of the Namibian Police in Walvis Bay arrested the young mother in the business area of the Kuisebmond neighbourhood of Walvis Bay where she was selling kapana.

Chief Inspector Ileni Shapumba, the head of the community affairs division in the Erongo Region said over the weekend that the mother was at first taken in for questioning and later charged with counts related to child neglect and abandonment.

The little girl was found on Saturday morning at approximately 07:10 by a man walking in the dunes about 200 meters east of the road between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

“The little girl was wrapped in a blanket and dressed warmly when the man found her. Three extra nappies were found in the blankets in which the baby was wrapped,” he said.

He added that observations made by investigators on the spot where the baby was found indicate that two different people were at the scene.

“Their footprints led back to the Kuisebmond neighbourhood,” he said.

He said that the baby was taken to a place of safety and left in the care of a social worker from the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare.

“It is important to indicate that children have the right to be cared for by their parents. And, parents should know that they have a constitutional obligation to care for their children.

The fact that there were two sets of footprints on the scene where the baya was found led to a public outcry that demanded that the father of the child should also be arrested.

In this regard, Shapumba said that the 27-year-old father who lives in Omuthiya in the Oshikoto Region, has been identified.

“We conducted a thorough investigation into the father and are still working with our social workers to look into all the circumstances surrounding the abandonment of the baby,” he said.

Shapumba, however, added that investigators found no reason or grounds to arrest the father as well.

The accused person did not give any motive or reason for abandoning her 16-month-old daughter in the Namib Desert when she appeared in court.

Abed will have to remain in the custody of the Namibian Police until she makes her next appearance before a Walvis Bay Magistrate on 18 June.

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