Police allegedly negligent with deceased girl's body

12 Dec 2013 11:50am
By Tjikunda Kulunga
OPUWO, 12 DEC (NAMPA) – A mother from the Omakange village in the Omusati Region has been left traumatised after her four-year-old deceased daughter’s body was handed back to her by the Namibian Police, instead of being handed over to a mortuary.
The girl fell ill last week, and died while being taken to the Otjimuhaka Clinic in the Epupa Constituency near the Namibia-Angolan border on Saturday.
Her mother, Catharina Iyambo, told Nampa that her daughter was kept there for one-and-a-half days while they waited for police from the Omusati Region to transport her to the nearest mortuary.
“They collected her body from the clinic on Sunday afternoon. They drove all the way to Ruacana (some 70 kilometres away), only to realise that the mortuary attendant does not work over weekends,” she explained.
According to Iyambo, the police officers informed her that there was nothing they could do with the girl’s body - which had already started decomposing - in Ruacana.
They wanted to know where she lived so that they could take her there with her daughter’s body.
“We drove to Omakange, and they dropped me off with my baby’s corpse at my mother’s house, whereafter they returned to Ruacana,” she recalled, adding that this occurred after 19h00 on Sunday.
The girl’s grandmother, Mundjuru Iyambo, said she was shocked that police officers who were familiar with the law were doing what they did.
She said there was also no possibility of having the girl buried at the village, as they could not do so without a death certificate.
“It was also very late to bury her at that time. Even the traditional leaders needed to be consulted if the burial was to be conducted at the village, and there was no coffin too. It was just chaos, and a big problem,” she stated sadly.
Iyambo added that they contacted Deputy Commissioner James Nderura, who is the Deputy Regional Commander of the Kunene Region, to report the incident.
He in response told them that police officers from the Kunene Region would collect the body.
Nderura confimed on Thursday that he was contacted by the family on Sunday evening at around 20h00, and instructed his officers to collect the body.
It was kept in the police mortuary until Wednesday, when the family collected the body for burial.
The top cop was not happy to hear that the police officers had basically dropped off the girl’s body on her family’s doorstep along with her mother, especially knowing that there was nothing the family could do, more so without proper documentation from authorities.
“In a normal situation, the police were supposed to have taken the body to the nearest mortuary for a possible post-mortem. It was not professional for them to drop a body at the family’s house, whatever the circumstances were,” noted Nderura.
This news agency could not establish what caused the baby’s death.
Her mother could only say that she started vomitting last Wednesday, and Saturday’s trip to the clinic was their second after she had started becoming sicker.
Omakange is situated some 60 kilometres from Opuwo in the Kunene Region.