Tanzania: 7-year-old boy Brutally Beaten by Police Officer Father

TANZANIA: A SEVEN-year-old boy who schools at Helbert Gappa Primary School in Simiyu Region, (Lake Zone), Benedicto Albert, was admitted at Bariadi town council hospital following injuries sustained after his biological father who is a policeman, Abati Benedicto (27) with number H. 4178, beat him.

Simiyu Regional Police Commander, Blasius Chatanda said that the incident occurred on 15th January 2023 when the father canned his son on various parts of the body. Chatanda said that on that day the father was inspecting his son’s exercise books and realized he got wrong answers in some mathematics exercises. He then started to cane him and caused the boy’s back to bleed.

After committing the act, the suspect gave the child some medicines and treatment at home. The information concerning the boy was first issued on 19th January 2023 by his class teacher, Bernadetha Katendele, who noticed that the pupil’s attendance was poor as he was absent from school for three days consecutively. « He was brought here by his stepmother, Ms Vumilia Mahega and we noticed that he was not happy and didn’t write his school exercises, » explained the teacher. The class teacher together with the school patron decided to take the boy to a special room for closer inspection where they discovered that the boy had several severe injuries. The teachers called the school head teacher and fortunately, his step mother was still on the school premises and confessed that the boy was beaten by his father using a wire.

The school head teacher alongside the stepmother and school patron went to the police station in Bariadi. On their way, the father called and begged them not to go to the police station and instead should discuss and solve the matter privately. The stepmother explained that she was not happy with her husband’s actions. A case was opened and the policeman, now a suspect, is expected to be taken to court anytime soon.

Information released on 20th January 2023 by the hospital medical doctor, Emmanuel Constantine noted that when they received the boy, he had various injuries on his back, head and ears. Dr. Constantine explained that some of the injuries on the boy’s body were fresh while others were old. « At the moment he is continuing with treatment at the pediatric ward and his condition has continued to improve. »

Bariadi town council social development officer, Janeth Jackson said that apart from ensuring that the boy received treatment and recovery, they are looking for another family who will monitor the boy’s safety and well-being. This comes at a time when a headmaster at Kakanja Primary School in the Kagera region, rural Tanzania was suspended after applying severe corporal punishment on pupils who hadn’t done the homework that was to be done during holidays. In this particular case, the headmaster was removed from his position.

Nearly 3 in 10 girls and approximately 1 in 7 boys in Tanzania have experienced violence before the age of 18 in school settings.

By Janelle Browne.

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