The Directorate of CID in close coordination with Directorate of Operations, Crime Intelligence and Greater Masaka Police, have in custody 4 suspects, highly linked to the alleged kidnap, trafficking with intent to forcefully marry, a 14-year-old girl victim from Kabuta LCI village, Mayanja Parish, Kakuuto Sub-county, in Kyotera district. The 4 suspects include; Kigundu Augustine, Musiri Geoffrey, who actively participated in the kidnap while still putting on the jumper he was wearing during the commission of the offence, Tumwine Sam, who led us to the arrest of Kigundu Augustine and Rukumiriza George, all residents of Kamuganja “B” LCI.
The facts gathered indicate that on the 6.08.2022 a one Kobusingye Merabu, the paternal Aunt of Kansiime Naome alias Ninsiima visited, her sister Kirezi Keren, a 35-year-old mother of the victim at Kabuta village. She feigned sickness and wanted the elder daughter of her brother, to go and help take care of her, until she recovered. She however, got when the elder sister had under gone an operation and was sickly. She then switched to the 14-year-old victim. The mother of the victim initially objected, but eventually allowed her to go and help for one week from the 6th – 10th of August, 2022
The victim and her Aunt set off on boda boda, but upon reaching Mukyombe village, located between Kabuta LCI and Kamuganja “B” LCI, the paternal Aunt started convincing her to get into marriage, which the victim rejected. They found a vehicle parked with occupants and others standing outside, who were known to the victim’s Aunt. The group of 8 men, grabbed the victim from the boda boda registration number UFK 215Y and forced her into the waiting Premio car, registration number UBB 256Y driven by Innocent Birungi of Kyotera Town Council. The victim was sandwiched between two men in the hind seat, while the paternal Aunt sat with the driver in front. The remaining 5 male suspects followed them on bodabodas, up to the home of Bataringaya in Kamuganja “B” LCI for marriage, to one of the sons.
At the destination, the victim was confined into a bedroom, where she was joined by the Aunt. She wept for all the days she was confined till 8.08.2022, when she heard the phone conversation, with the husband to her Aunt, threatening her with jail. She however, continued to counsel her and share tips on marriage. It is on Tuesday 9.08.2022 at around 11pm, that the Aunt gave up on her, and hired a boda boda who transported her back to her home. The victim has since been transferred to Kampala, where she is getting counselling for the trauma she went through and better management; including plans of returning to school.
We strongly condemn the act of forceful child marriage. It is a harmful traditional and cultural practice which violates the rights of the girl child. The incident that was captured on video, shows that the practice still exists yet it has devastating physical and psychological effects on young girls. The practice puts girls at risks of rape on their forced wedding nights, endangers them with infectious diseases, draws them into premature mother hood, with added pressure to bear children and nature them. In extreme cases, it leads to depression, loneliness and even suicide.
Because culture is a phenomenon which is deeply embedded in communities, it calls for initiatives that can help change the mentality in parents and guardians, who do not see the harmful repercussions of child marriage and advantage of keeping children in school, through education, mobilization and usage of existing laws. Educated girls and women, have more inner strength, which helps them understand their value, preserve their innocence, freedom of choice, knowledge about their rights, which should not be affected by traditional social norms.
As we conclude, we urge the public to totally reject as illegal, the practice of child marriage in communities. We also call upon young girls to be more courageous and speak out against their families and other culprits who glorify child marriages.
SCP Enanga Fred
15th March 2022