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A family from the Erongo Region is seeking justice from the police, whom they accuse of brutality.

The father of a mentally and physically disabled man in Swakopmund has expressed his utter dissatisfaction with the police for failing to perform up to expected standards when they dealt with his child.

Gideon Doeseb accuses the police of being responsible for his son's physical disability by hitting him with a vehicle.

Doeseb explains that his son was discovered to be mentally ill, and during an outburst, police were called to escort him to the hospital.

He says police failed to subdue his son and that one of the officers told him they were afraid of harming him because they were not trained in dealing with his condition.

"All the police did was stand and see my son running away. As a family, we followed him, but we lost track of him. We searched for him, but we could not find him for days."

He continued that one evening, he received a phone call informing him that his son had been found and was being admitted to a local hospital.

"I felt really bad because he was supposed to write his final exams, but he passed all of his other semesters, and because of this, it has become our problem since the incident; he just walks away, and we are bearing this burden."

At the hospital, Doeseb found his son in critical condition and was told that he had been involved in a hit-and-run incident.

It was further explained to him that his son had thrown stones at passing cars on the road between Arandis and Swakopmund.

His son, he maintains, told him he was hit by a police car.

He now blames the police for not assisting in apprehending his mentally ill son on time and for preventing him from opening a case against them.

The family called on the government to build mental health facilities in the region and to train police officers on how to apprehend people with mental illnesses.

"The way they handle the people is like they are handling criminals; these people are special; they don't know what they are doing at that moment when they become like that, so we should basically get officers that can work with them at the police stations. Because at the coast there are a lot of people with mental problems, we should handle people with love and care; we get angry if we see our people being handled badly," said Nesty Geiseb, the victim's brother.

Unit Commander for Community Affairs in Erongo, Inspector Ileni Shapumba, urged the families to make requests for inquiries into their cases.

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Author
Stefan Uirab