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Missing children found dead in the bush

CONFIRMING: Supt Zilawe INSET: Bereaved uncle, Marenga

Two four year old children who went missing from their home in Gwedao settlement near Habu village last week Friday were found lying dead in the bush yesterday (Thursday), about 10 kilometres away from home.

Confirming the sad incident, Gumare police station commander- Dennis Zilawe, explained that they found the two motionless bodies in the bush and rushed them to Gumare primary hospital where they were confirmed dead.

“We have opened an inquest into the matter and have taken the bodies for postmorterm,” further explained Zilawe noting that if it is found that there was negligence on the part of the family, then charges will be laid accordingly.

Last week Friday, three 4-year-old children, two boys and a girl left their parent’s homestead in Gwedao settlement, near Habu village to return a bicycle to a neighbour’s house.

The boys were bare footed while the girl only had on flip-flops and covered only in light clothes.

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“We received the report of the missing children on Saturday. The police officers immediately went there to join in the search and one of the boys was found wandering in the bush, crying and calling out for his mother and for the other children,” explained Gumare police Station Commander, Dennis Zilawe.

This is what was reported to the police according to Zilawe.

On Friday the three children went to a neighbour’s house to return the bicycle.

Hours later when they did not return, one of the parents went to the same yard with the intention to take them back home.

“Upon arrival she was told that they indeed came around, dropped off the bicycle and left. They then followed their footprints which tracked towards their home, but a few meters before their yard, they turned towards the goat kraal and into the bush,” added Zilawe.

Worried and fearing for the children’s safety, the parents and some villagers are said to have followed the footprints into the bush until nightfall without any sign of the children. “They also slept in the bush and they kept communicating by phone with those they left back home, but they kept losing network signals. However the following morning we received the report of the missing children.”

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The boy was found at around 17:00 in the bush, seemingly terrified, but could not give helpful information to the search team, “He only said he left the other children at home with their mothers and he also wanted to go to his mother.”

That same Saturday the relatives slept over at some local cattlepost to continue the search the following morning but they still could not find the missing children on Sunday.

This is the same week when temperatures were running as low as 6 degrees Celsius in the early mornings in this area.

“The footprints were visible and at some point they went in circles and animal tracks were also making it difficult to make them out in some spots. At some point it would appear as if they went separate ways,” explained the grandfather to the deceased children, Phoi Marenga.

It was not until Monday afternoon that a police helicopter joined in the search brushing over the bushy wildlife infested area.

On Thursday their bodies were found by those who were tracking on foot.

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Asked why it took them so long to get the helicopter to the area, the police explained that the North West District does not have any chopper and that they had to deploy one from Gaborone.

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