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UHRC investigates police in Kotido over mismanaging defilement case

Defilement and rape among minors is on the increase but police are reluctant to follow up the cases.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Human Rights Commission is investigating the police in Kotido for mismanaging a defilement case.

In August, Phillip Lomongin, the LCI chairperson of Kanayete village in Kotido sub county reported a defilement case involving a six-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy to the police at Lokitelaebu.

However, he was turned away by the OC station Gabriel Acuka who advised him to settle the case with the parents of the victim and the accused.

The officer noted that the case involved minors and therefore police could not prefer charges on the accused.

However, the Uganda Human Rights Regional Officer for Karamoja Chris Ogwang says the Commission is following up the matter.

“I have instructed our field officers in Kotido to investigate the matter.’ In my view, the police should have acted. Under the law, one is criminally liable at 12. Only that they cannot be put in custody with adults” said Ogwang.

Ogwang added that they want to understand the circumstances under which the people who reported the case were turned down without any action by the police.

Our reporter has established that the child has so far received some treatment from Lokitelaebu Health Centre III but no psychosocial support has been rendered yet. No case has also been opened to date.

Currently, the girl is under the care of the aunt, Betty Loryang while the parents whose names have been withheld live some 20 km away in Rengen sub county, and have abandoned following up the case.

Speaking in a telephone interview, the father of the survivor, Lokiru [not his real name] says he is stranded on the next course of action after police let him down.

He claims that the other efforts to seek attention from women rights advocate, Karamoja Women Umbrella Body have been fruitless.

The District Police Commander Kotido, Apollo Kyangungu says that they are yet to decide on the next course of action based on the Children Diversion Guidelines for Police Officers.

The Children’s’ guidelines indicate that children aged 12 years and above are criminally responsible for their offenses when they come in conflict with the law in case of capital offenses, like murder and defilement.

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