The Namibian police yesterday said they want to get the perpetrator accused of grossly abusing two small girls, indecent photographs of whom are circulating on social media.
Obscene and unpleasant images of the vulnerable toddlers being sexually abused, that were published on the WhatsApp platform, threw the country into a state of shock and fury this week. The police on Sunday issued a photo of the two girl-children to newspapers with the aim of identifying them and appealed to the public for assistance to trace the whereabouts of the two girls, or their relatives.
Nampol Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi said they wanted the girls identified so that they can do their part in locating them and getting to the bottom of what appears to be a child abuse scandal. “A few calls came in, but people were [mostly] shocked and wanted to know more. No one came forth [to identify the girls],” Shikwambi said yesterday.
She says it now appears the girls might not be Namibian. It is alleged the culprit is also from a foreign country, rumoured to be Zimbabwe, although this could not be independently confirmed.
Shikwambi said they liaised with Interpol to see if other countries picked up on the case. “It a very serious offence. Whether they are Namibian or not, their rights, future, and lives are violated. Somehow, someone needs to be brought in, even if they are not Namibian,” stated Shikwambi, repeating that the Namibian police will liaise with other countries to track the perpetrator.
Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi added: “We’re not there to expose the children, but whatever the crime the perpetrator committed it is our resolve to try to get the culprit, wherever he finds himself so that he can be brought to book. “This (information sharing) is done through wire services, Interpol and newspapers, which are read globally. Someone might be able to tell us where these children are, so that through our counterparts we will get them.”
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Namibia) has meanwhile called on citizens to refrain from sharing images that depict children and others in unhealthy, painful, unlawful and inappropriate situations. MISA Namibia said it is a criminal act to share, or send messages with photos and videos of children being sexually abused and exploited.
“Instead of sharing these images, assist the authorities to identify and find them, so that they may find healing from the horrors they have endured… We call upon Nampol to investigate the origin of these images on WhatsApp, and to hold those who shared it accountable.”