Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Thousands of girls defiled and impregnated in Luwero district are not reporting to police stations, a report has revealed.
According to the Police crime report released recently, a total of 166 cases of defilement were reported in 2022 in Luwero district of which 68 were classified as aggravated cases. Police ranked Luwero number two in districts with the highest cases of aggravated defilement across the country.
But the cases reported by police are fewer compared to the huge number of teenage girls that turn up in health centers seeking antenatal after they were defiled and got pregnant.
The Luwero District Health Report on teenage pregnancies indicates that in the period of the past seven months from July 2022 to January 2023, at least 9,184 girls below the age of 19 sought antenatal services after they got pregnant. Considering that many delay to report to health facilities, the total pregnancies are definitely higher than 10,000. The report indicates that 67 girls below the age of 15 years were also impregnated within the period.
The report further reveals that from July 2021 to June 2022, at least 17,536 teenagers got pregnant of which 121 were below 15 years. From July 2020 to June 2021, about 16,163 teenagers of which 442 were below the age of 15 years also got pregnant.
A 17-year-old girl whose name is withheld is among those defiled and impregnated last year but her parents resolved not to report the matter to the police because the suspect agreed to look after the child.
The S.1 student has since dropped out of school and is now pursuing vocational studies after giving birth.
Joyce Namigadde, the Senior Probation Officer for Luwero District says that few cases are reported to the Police because many parents settle them with defilers after getting money.
Namigadde adds that even those who report to the police, are unable to follow up on the cases till the end, over delayed justice.
Salim Zimula, the councillor for Kakabala parish at Butuntumula sub county says some defilement cases are settled between parents with knowledge of policemen and state attorneys.
Zimula says that mediation talks have affected the fight against defilement and partly explains the skyrocketing cases in the area.
Richard Bwabye Ntulume, the Luwero Resident District Commissioner says that apart from parents, he has also got reports of LC1 chairmen and policemen profiting from the cases.
Bwabye says that he has already ordered the District Police Commander to arrest officers in charge of police posts, parents and LC1 Chairmen who are accused of mediating in the defilement cases.
The Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson Patrick Lule declined to comment saying the Police Commanders need time to discuss the crime report before commenting on the cases.
According to section 129 (3) of the penal code act, the maximum penalty for the offence of aggravated defilement is death.