Latwell Nyangu and Ashley Mujoma

THE Department of Social Welfare Department is still holding on to a teenage girl who ended up in Mozambique and is believed to have been abused.

She went missing on March 1.

Despite her return on June 13, the Chitungwiza teenager has not yet been reunited with her family.

This has prompted speculation that she might have been abused at home or faced other issues.

A Social Welfare official confirmed that a final decision to return her to her family would be made after investigations, to determine the circumstances surrounding her case, have been concluded.

“We value the safety of the child first and if children refuse to go back to their families, we don’t force them.

“In (her) case, we are just talking to her and understanding what happened to her and after that we will hand her back to her family,” said the official. Contacted for comment, her uncle, who only identified himself as Mr Gwashavanhu, said:

“For now, we are waiting for Social Welfare to tell us the way forward.”

A source said it appears the teenager was being abused at home.

“Does it take two months for them to make a decision either to give the parents back their child or to announce that the child will be living at a safe house for whatever reason?

“Police finished their work.

“When she was in Mozambique, she did not mention anything about her being afraid of going back home.

“They are treating her like a victim of home abuse.

“By now, she should be back home or taken to a family which can look after her if they are suspecting abuse.

“She has not been going to school and this should also be considered when mapping the way forward.”

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