Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police personnel attached to Bugembe police station in Jinja have rescued a 13 year old juvenile, who is reported to have been married off to a 17 year old teenager.
The teen was rescued in an operation carried out in Budhumbuli cell, Bugembe, where the couple was renting for the past year. The operation followed a tipoff from neighbors who accused the young couple of abusing drugs, engaging in endless fights and being unruly.
“The couple started renting here in June last year. They lied to us that they were siblings who were temporarily living together as they waited for the reopening of schools. However, over time, we noticed them jointly abusing drugs, engaging in endless fights and using vulgar language,” Lovisa Namususwa, one of the area residents said.
Prior to her marriage, the 13-year-old was a primary five pupil. However, during last year’s lockdown, both her parents who were casual labourers in factories lost their jobs, separated and left her under the care of her grandmother Linda Tumwebaze.
But the juvenile girl says that she decided to join marriage after her grandmother failed to cater for her essential needs like clothing, food and pads. Tumwebaze however says that her grandchild was influenced by peer pressure since most teenage girls within their locality are married.
Kiira Regional Police Spokesperson James Mubi says that detectives have been deployed to hunt down the other minor, who will be charged with defilement. Mubi adds that there are several unreported child sex-related offences in Bugembe ward, which has prompted the police to design a community policing drive, aimed at sensitizing the general public on the dangers of condoning child rights abuses.