Young mother faces wrath of the law after abandoning baby

Niël Terblanché

Detectives of the Namibian Police in Walvis Bay on Saturday arrested a 24-year-old woman who is suspected of abandoning her 16-month-old baby in the dunes 200 meters from the road between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

The reason for abandoning her baby will be determined when she appears in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court this week.

On Saturday, the Namibian Police distributed information requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the baby girl and her mother.

Shortly afterwards, it was established that the mother makes a living by selling kapana in the Kuisebmond area.

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

According to Shapumba, the toddler was found on Saturday morning at approximately 07:10 by a man walking in the dunes.

He added that 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.

“Observations made at the scene indicate that two different people were at the scene where the child was abandoned. Their tracks lead back to the Kuisebmond neighbourhood,” he said.

He said that there were no documents to identify the baby and added that she had no visible injuries on her body.

“She was taken to a place of safety and left in the care of a social worker from the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare,” he said.

Shapumba added that the behaviour of the young mother cannot be condoned.

“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 take care of their children.

He added that the police have taken note of the public opinion and pressure that called for the arrest of the father as well.

In this regard, he said 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.

According to Shapumba, there are currently no grounds to arrest the father.

“We express our sincere gratitude to our community for their overwhelming support, advice and input,” he said.

He urged the public to always have confidence and not doubt the police’s credibility and professionalism and the officers’ ability to discharge their constitutional mandates and functions.

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