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Angolan minors scrounge in bins for food

2022-10-03  Victoria Kaapanda

Angolan minors scrounge in bins for food

Angolan children as young as five years are roaming the streets of various northern towns, begging for food, selling wooden items and sleeping in unsafe places.

They are also not attending school.

Their parents are accused of forcing them to sell and beg for food and money on the streets at a young age.

They say they are fighting for survival in Namibia as life in their country has allegedly become hard, with high unemployment rates. 

Thousands of Angolans who fled unemployment, drought and hunger have been camping at Etunda and in Oshikango since the beginning of last year.

Although they were repatriated in February, they returned immediately, claiming the crisis in their country is deep, and they do not see relief coming anytime soon.

The children are seen around Oshakati, Ongwediva and Ondangwa begging for food and money, claiming they are hungry.

Acting executive director in the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Martha Mbombo said the ministry is aware of the situation, and is working in consultation with other stakeholders in the region to address the situation.

“To enroll these children in schools requires birth certificates. In the absence of Namibian documents, it becomes a challenging situation,” she noted.

She said the two governments have been working together before independence, and continue to work together after independence to take care of the citizens.

Kristophina Nakandungile, the personal assistant of Oshana governor Elia Irimari, said their office has helped where they can.

“Thinking of repatriating them will not make any difference as they will return immediately because what chased them from their country is still not solved,” she stressed.

There is thus no permanent solution for them, she added. 

‘’Still, there is no programme to help Angolan migrants. We have nothing to do at the moment,’’ said Nakandungile.  

Oshana police commander Naftal Sackaria said there is an urgent need for both police and immigration officials to launch a joint patrol to ensure that any illegal migrant is deported to their respective countries.

Magdalena Simeon, an Angolan based in Oshakati and who has been in Namibia for more than 20 years, said it is disheartening to see her fellow Angolans in such a state, eating from dustbins and begging for food.

“This is a clear message that our Angolan government is not serious with their citizens; they pass by these people without remorse. It is sad,’’ she lamented.

One of the parents of the minors roaming the streets in Oshakati told New Era that what brought them to Namibia is hunger and poverty - and they will not leave this country until their government finds a solution to their problems.

“Although we are not very happy with
the way we are living now, it is better than sleeping on an empty stomach. Our government has neglected us,” she reiterated.

“Our children don’t steal, they don’t touch people’s things without permission, they ask”, she observed. 

The Angolan Embassy could not answer questions about minors roaming the streets, saying the person who has to answer these questions is on sick leave. 

2022-10-03  Victoria Kaapanda

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