Lobatse child still missing one month on
by Mpho Keleboge
The search team that was put together to try to find a missing five-year-old child who mysteriously went missing four weeks ago in Lobatse’s Woodhall 2 area has still not established any useful lead as to the whereabouts of the child.
The family of the missing child says it will not give up the search until they at least find his remains.
Biki Gaasiti, the child’s 44-year-old grandfather, has accused the police for the delay in locating the missing child.
He said the police initially threatened the public with teargas if they got involved in any unethical behaviour.
“We could have used traditional healers way back to bring back the child but the officers threatened us,’ said Gaasati, adding that the general public had shown interest in assisting in finding the child but due to the police’s interference and warnings, they pulled back and “we are just left as a family to look for the child”.
He said the child went out of the home around past 9 in the morning to play with his friends but he (Gaasati) could not find him when he looked for him around 11 the same morning.
Gaasati also accused some close family members, especially women, of hiding the child for ritual purposes.
“The people of Wood Hall 2 in Lobatse were eager to locate the child as we suspected that some close family members know the whereabouts of the child,” said. “As a family, we are using our traditional way of searching for the child. I’ve gone through 17 traditional healers and all of them have told me that the child is in the hands of some women and man who have moved the child to another place to make it difficult for us to locate him.”
WoodHall Police Station Commander Tlhageng Rantabe has dismissed the family claims as unfounded, particularly that the police stopped looking for the missing child.
Rantabe said at first, they engaged Lobatse Police officers, WoodHall and the Air Security Force to assist but to no avail.
“Our search is still ongoing except the assistance of other police officers, because currently Woodhall Police officers are the only one busy on the search for the child, with some family members but as for now, we have not found any possible lead,” he said. “Our search is not to standard like when we started, that’s where maybe their main worry lies but we are still conducting our search.”
Rantabe denied that the police had interfered with the family in using their traditional Setswana way to try to locate the child.
“My advice is that they can use any method appropriate for them to locate their child,” he said. “They notified me about some traditional healers who had promised to assist them in locating the missing child and I never stopped them so I’m surprised that they are now accusing us.”
Rantabe added that even though there is no clue as to the whereabouts of the child, they had not lost hope.
He appealed to the members of the public to assist the police with any information that could lead to the locating of the child.
“It is really heartbreaking for such a child to disappear just like that without any trace,” said Rantabe, conceding that people come in large numbers to look for the child but nothing has come out of the search.
The little boy went missing last month while under the care of his grandfather when his mother went to work early in the morning.