Mukono, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mukono Municipality law enforcement officers have rounded up over 40 children from the streets and markets in an ongoing operation aimed at ensuring that youngstar return to school.
The arrested children also include those accused of harassing people for money on streets within Goma and Central Division under an organized child begging syndicate.
Mukono municipality streets and markets are filled with children aged between seven and 15, many of them vending edibles, polythene bags, face masks, fruits and other agricultural produce, almost a month after the reopening of schools.
The Municipal Senior Law Enforcement Officer James Nsimbi says the operation ongong will help reduce cases of absenteeism in schools, child labour and street children. Nsimbi says the children have been handed over to the municipal probation office for screening.
Mukono Municipality Senior Probation Officer Jackline Mirembe says that 90 per cent of the children netted in the operation are teen mothers and 10 per cent are homeless.
She notes parents are supposed to show up and explain why their children are not in school while the homeless are going to be handed over to the Police Family and Protection Unit for resettlement.
Mirembe cautions parents against neglecting their children since it exposes them to risks such as early pregnancies. She says most street children are running away from homes over domestic violence, negligence and corporal punishment.
Statistics at her office indicates that for the last two years, they have managed to resettle 30 children from the streets with their families and over 20 handed over to homes after failing to trace for their relatives while the number of those taken through rehabilitation sessions remains overwhelming.
Meanwhile, some of the parents turning up to rescue their children said that they are out of school due to a lack of scholastic materials such as books. Jane Namulondo, a vendor at Kame valley market says enforcement officers did listen to their plea during the operation.