Safety of hostel learners in Kunene a concern

Safety of hostel learners in Kunene a concern
Photo credits: 

Reports of hostel learners being sexually assaulted at schools in the Kunene Region are becoming a concern to the police.
“It is becoming alarming for the police as law enforcement agency to hear that learners who stay in hostels are being raped,” Crime Investigations Coordinator of the Namibian Police Force in the Kunene Region, Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Kanyetu told Nampa on Thursday.
A 16-year-old school girl who attends Musaso Combined School at Otwani village was allegedly raped by an 18-year-old suspect on Tuesday.
It is alleged that the suspect went to the girl’s hostel where he pulled a girl’s blanket through the window.
Four girls decided to run after him and when they caught up with him he threatened them with a knife and told them to follow him.
He also hit the girls with a stick and forced them into a riverbed.
“It is alleged that the suspect told them he would have sexual intercourse with all four of them before he ordered them to lie down,” Kanyetu said.
He then forced himself onto his 16-year-old victim and raped her.
The other three girls in the meantime managed to escape and they reported the matter to a teacher.
The suspect was arrested and is expected to appear in the Opuwo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The police also reported on Monday that they are investigating a case of an eight-year-old boy who was allegedly sodomised by 11 other boys aged between eight and 16 at Warmquelle Combined School in the Sesfontein Constituency.
NamPol spokesperson, Sergeant Tabitha Haufiku said the suspects allegedly had a daily routine of sodomising each other.
“It appears that the boys took turns to sodomise each other every day and this victim maybe could not take it anymore, which is why he reported the others,” Haufiku said.
Kanyetu said they do not have exact figures of such assaults as they only get involved when rape cases are reported to the police, but the few they know of are cause for concern.
Safety in government hostels should not be an issue, Education circuit inspector for Epupa, Levi Mutilifa said when contacted for comment Thursday.
“This should not happen, especially in government hostels where there are teachers who are paid to supervise learners,” Mutilifa said.
He urged supervisors to carry out their duties as expected.
The inspector said he will launch an investigation into the matter and make sure it is addressed properly.
Mutilifa however also said there are some hostels –some in tents - set up by the community that do not have supervisors who can be hold accountable for the well-being and safety of learners.
Similarly, at some of the schools, learners sleep in the classrooms – which in most cases are tents - at night, and these are also easily accessible.