Oshakati – The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service says the 123 Children of the Liberation Struggle, as they have become known, who are camping at Ruben Danger Police Training Centre in Ondangwa claim they are there against their own free will.
Deputy Director in the directorate of youth development in the Ministry of Sport Patrick Haingura said there was no training promised for this particular group of struggle kids. They found themselves at Ruben Ashipala Training Centre in Ondangwa after the ministry cut short their trip to Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region.
They claim they were en route to Katima Mulilo to receive training at the police college there after they were unable to secure training at Berg Aukas. Haingura said though that this particular group did not follow procedures and voluntarily undertook a trip to Berg Aukas hoping to also receive training.
“However, upon arrival at Berg Aukas there was already an intake at the centre and they were advised to return to their respective regions and wait for the next intake. But they chose to camp outside the centre until they decided to foot it to Zambezi,” Haingura said.
“The ministry intervened and while they were at Mururani transport was availed for them to be transported to the north – not to receive training, but so that they can return to their homes,” he said.
Upon arrival at the centre the jobless youths decided to stay put at Ondangwa. Haingura said the so-called ‘struggle kids’ are their of their own volition and are not being held hostage as they allege.
They accuse government of keeping them at the centre without food and putting them in rooms without electricity. “They are not giving us food, we are not allowed to leave the centre or receive visitors and they are not telling us anything,” said one of the children at the centre.
They also allege they were informed that those who wish to leave the camp should leave with all their belongings.
“Our appeal is that they return home and wait for the next intake,” Haingura said and appealed to the dissident group to follow the correct procedures. He said the ministry is ready to engage with them and seek an amicable situation for all.
Currently 273 youths born in exile are receiving training at Berg Aukas, with a further 247 in Zambezi, while about 50 are enrolled at Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT).