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Police rallies public to curb new wave of crime in Gulu

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The police in Gulu has rallied the public to back up their community policing efforts to curb a new wave of gang rape and defilement cases.

This follows an increase in the activities of criminal youth gangs. The offenders flout restrictions on night movements, waylay young girls and kidnap them.

Moses Ogwang, the Gulu city community liaison officer disclosed that the criminal gangs abduct their victims into rented rooms usually in isolated locations where they commit their acts especially in the outskirts of Gulu city divisions.

Ogwang revealed that many parents have relinquished parental obligations leaving children with a lot of liberty to control themselves which propels them into conflict with the law.

Ballingtone Ongwech, the secretary for Health, Education and Community services says needy parents are threatening leaders who try to investigate rape, defilement and early marriages in the community, a trend that will make it hard to stamp out the vice.

The Community Development Officer, Goretti Oketch, regretted that no arrests have so far been made to bring the perpetrators to book. She emphasized the need for different partners and the district to collaboratively devise a comprehensive strategy to eradicate the vice.

The leaders are worried that if the trend of such crime is not averted, it will aggravate teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Aswa region.

According to the police statistics, over 2,000 underage girls have been defiled and impregnated in Gulu alone, while the statistics are over 20,000 for the entire Acholi sub-region during the period of lockdown spanning March 2020 to August 2021.

Annually, sexual offences including rape and defilement top the police annual crime reports.

For instance in 2020, the crime indicates that a total of 1,521 women were victims of rape. However, up to 1,519 cases were registered unlike 1,528 cases in 2019.

According to the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention-CEDOVIP, a local civil society organization committed to preventing violence against women, in 2018, at least 644 cases were taken to court, and 16 secured convictions, with one case acquitted, seven dismissed and 620 cases pending, and 618 were still under investigations.



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