Soldiers’ children abuse drugs in barracks

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Some students staying with parents in Selebi-Phikwe’s Eastern Military Garrison are reported to be smoking marijuana, even transporting drugs in military buses. The said students are reported to be carrying drugs in their school bags and others stuffed in their socks.

This emerged during an address by the 11 Artillery Brigade Commander Colonel Mokgweetsi Gaolatlhe during EMG’s wellness day this week. He strongly warned parents that the army would not hesitate to report such cases to the police. Furthermore, he warned, offending children would be expelled from the camp.

He said the military camp should not be a haven of social ills. “These incidents call for strong preventive measures to be put in place including searching of students’ school bags and we are going to do exactly that,” he added.

Gaolatlhe implored parents to talk to their children and start shaping their future now as the zeal to transform them for the better is still there.  Turning to the army men, Gaolatlhe said while members of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) are well known for their discipline, the way some of them conduct themselves in public was disappointing.

“I have received reports that some soldiers indulge in sexual relationships with students of Selebi-Phikwe Secondary School. On the same note they lock the students in the barracks thus making them skip classes. Bangwe ba rona ba ntshitse basetsanyana ba sekolo Basadi gone fa,” he said.

He said army personnel should be aware that they are role models, mentors and guardians of all the children at the EMG. “The nation, the community and parents are keen to know if their children are in good hands when we talk of our military profession,” he added.

On the wellness day, Gaolatlhe said the event should be recognised as a sign of reaffirmation of the military leadership’s commitment to the good health of members of the BDF and their families.

He said the event was aimed at promoting and scaling up access to health facilities for the attainment of personal and community wellness. 

“Wellness is much more than just physical wellness but it is a full integration of states of physical, mental and spiritual well-being,” he added.

For his part Dr Windi Lameck Marwa advised the army men to refrain from excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, eating fatty foods and that salt and sugar must be taken sparingly. He added that the World Health Organisation has indicated that the consumption of free sugars has increased steadily over the years.

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