MASERU — A desperate man from Motimposo went to Maqalika Dam on Monday night intending to drown his two sons after his wife abandoned him sometime last month.
According to the police, the children were rescued by some neighbours who, after noticing him leave with his two sons, aged one and three, followed to check what he was up to.
This, according to the police, also followed some threats the father had publicly made that he was struggling to look after the children and wanted to get rid of them.
However, the neighbours raised an alarm after noticing the father trying to drag the children into the dam.
Police spokesperson Inspector Thato Ramarikhoana said with the help of some residents living around the Maqalika Dam area, just below Maseru East, they managed to rescue the terrified children.
“The father disappeared that night and we are still trying to trace his whereabouts. We are also looking for the mother to get a clearer understanding of the circumstances surrounding the situation,” Ramarikhoana said.
Police’s Child and Gender Unit officers took the children to the Ministry of Social Development, where by late Tuesday afternoon they were still waiting to be placed in an orphanage.
“The challenge is that, out of the seven orphanages we work with, only three can accommodate children of their age in Maseru and they are all full,” a Social Welfare Officer, Mrs ‘Maletsie Khoete said after changing the diapers of the one-year-old.
“However, the only orphanage that has agreed to take them in is Touching Tiny Lives in Mokhotlong. We are arranging to take them to a temporary facility before taking them to Mokhotlong tomorrow (Wednesday)”.
Every month about 10 children are brought to the social welfare office for placement at various orphanages.
The children, who include newly born babies, are either neglected or abandoned by their parents or families.
“Today alone, we received four children. It is difficult to keep them in the office while we work on the placement logistics which can take more than a day,” she said.
The other two girls aged nine and 13, she said, were also from Motimposo and were brought in by a certain woman from Maseru West who saw them beg for help and feared they might fall prey to human traffickers or end up sexually abused.
Khoete said three years ago the girls were staying with their elder brother, following the death of both their parents.
However, the brother left for South Africa in 2010 and never returned.
“In cases like this, we need to visit their home to properly assess their circumstances in order to determine whether they should be placed in an orphanage,” Khoete said.