De­tained sol­diers’ kids ‘trau­ma­tised’

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

THE wives of sol­diers de­tained for al­legedly plot­ting to topple the army com­mand, say their chil­dren are suf­fer­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma due to their fa­thers’ ab­sence for over seven months.

Twenty three Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) mem­bers were im­pris­oned be­tween May and June 2015 and charged with mutiny. Five sol­diers have since been re­leased on dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions with 18 still in Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing the sup­port she and other wives of de­tained sol­diers had re­ceived from well-wish­ers, the woman said their chil­dren were be­ing “ne­glected”.

“We have re­ceived a lot of sup­port, but our chil­dren have been ne­glected. We need to bring them to­gether so they can in­ter­act,” she said.

“Just yes­ter­day, my child, who is in Grade 8, came back home from school cry­ing and said that an older stu­dent had taunted him by say­ing ‘your father is in prison’.”

An­other de­tained sol­dier’s wife told the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day that her tod­dler had “for­got­ten” he had a father.

“My boy once asked me if he had a father be­cause one of his play­mates asked if he had a father or not.

“He looked de­pressed be­cause he did not have an an­swer to the ques­tion, and I re­alised that he had to­tally for­got­ten about his father,” the woman said.

“I did not know how to an­swer him be­cause I was not sure if he would un­der­stand if I told him that his father was de­tained in prison.

“My child has night­mares that he can­not ex­plain, and it all started af­ter the ar­rest of his father at home.”

An­other de­tained sol­dier’s wife said while all her chil­dren were adults, they had be­come re­served and lost weight be­cause of their father’s in­car­cer­a­tion.

“It is very dif­fi­cult for me to see my chil­dren al­ways de­pressed. They ac­com­pany me ev­ery time I visit their father at the Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison and see the bad treat­ment we re­ceive there,” she said.

“My chil­dren are very bit­ter and some­times they just cry with­out ex­press­ing their an­guish with me. My other son told me that he would not share what he was go­ing through be­cause I am also go­ing through a hard time. They no longer eat prop­erly say­ing they don’t have the ap­petite, and they are now los­ing weight.”

Asked about how her chil­dren were far­ing at school, one lady said she knew her chil­dren were ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing well in their stud­ies as they used to do in pre­vi­ous years.

“It is like a night­mare. My chil­dren are all strug­gling to con­cen­trate at school and al­ways on my case about when their father will come back from prison,” she said.

“They also told me that they no longer en­joyed hang­ing out with their peers at school or in our vil­lage be­cause they were be­ing teased that their father was a crim­i­nal who was ar­rested be­cause he was part of a plot to desta­bilise Le­sotho.

“It is very painful be­cause they are just chil­dren who are not even aware of the coun­try’s se­cu­rity is­sues.”

An­other teary eyed mother said her chil­dren had al­ways as­pired to be­come sol­diers when they grew up un­til their father’s im­pris­on­ment.

“My chil­dren al­ways wanted to be sol­diers like their father, but af­ter wit­ness­ing the ar­rest of their father by his col­leagues, they have changed their minds,” she said.

“They are now scared of sol­diers, and no longer look up to them as their role mod­els. They lit­er­ally run away when they see a mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle com­ing their way when they are play­ing.

“They scream and run into the house, scared that they might be taken away like their father. I never thought that their father’s im­pris­on­ment would trau­ma­tise them like that.”

Some of THE wives of THE DE­TAINED sol­diers DE­MAND THE RE­LEASE of THEIR Hus­bands In this file pic­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.