Marginalised inmates neglected by families

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Nuusita Ashipala

Eenhana-Marginalised trial-awaiting inmates from the San community at Eenhana and Okongo police holding cells received clothes and counselling through the Office of the President last week. There are currently 25 trial-awaiting San inmates at Okongo and Eenhana, one of which is female.

Apart from the clothing donation, the inmates were also cautioned against the excessive use of alcohol, as it is seen as a contributing factor leading to their arrest.

Speaking on behalf of the inmates, one who only identified himself as Shiweda claimed that although they were not being discriminated against in custody their families have abandoned them. Shiweda said their families do not visit and do not pay for bail when it is granted by court.

“Some of our families are deceased; others are pensioners, so no one visits. Hence, we only get assistance from fellow inmates. Those who are released leave their items behind for us,” said Shiweda.
He applauded the police for always responding to their requests, including escorting them to seek medical help, when needed.

Welcoming the delegation, Chief Inspector El- Salvador Ndeunyema applauded the Office of the President for the initiative to counsel the marginalised inmates. “They are our people, we need to take care of them,” he said.
Ndeunyema further said the majority of the San inmates were arrested for cases of assault as a result of excessive abuse of alcohol. He said cases of assault amount to at least 90 percent of the crimes reported in the region, totalling over 500 cases reported between January and October.

Puleinge Tomas, a development planner of the marginalised communities in the Office of the President said he was pleased with the report given by the inmates and encouraged them to always liaise with the relevant offices for assistance.

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