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Five Arrested for Planning to Unite Minors in Marriage

The boy and his family had travelled from Olelai Village to Acongwen Village, all in Aperikila Sub County for the introduction ceremony. According to area residents, the boy’s family had already paid 300,000 Shillings as the brideprice. They were preparing to handover a goat to the girls parents by the time the police stormed the home.
Albert Ejoku, the District Chairperson Kaberamaido.
Police in Kaberamaido has arrested five people for allegedly participating in the marriage ceremony of two minors; 14- year-old primary six girl and a 17-year-old boy. The Ugandan constitution puts the age of consent at 18.

The boy and his family had travelled from Olelai Village to Acongwen Village, all in Aperikila Sub County for the introduction ceremony. According to area residents, the boy’s family had already paid 300,000 Shillings as the brideprice. They were preparing to handover a goat to the girls parents by the time the police stormed the home.

Samuel Olaki, the deputy officer in charge of criminal investigations at Kaberamaido Police Station said that they were informed about the ceremony by Rogers Ejotu, the gender officer at Kaberamaido District Local Government.

Those arrested include Joseph Esatu, the uncle to the girl, Richard Edonu, a boda-boda cyclist who carried the ‘groom’ and his sister and the would-be couple, while the mother of the girl, Grace Abulo and the father of the boy, whose name has not yet been established managed to escape. Olaki told our reporter that the group will be charged in Court for procuring defilement and other related charges.

Joseph Esatu, the girl’s uncle said that he was lured by the mother of the girl, Grace Abulo who told him that the girl was of age.

“That girl’s father died on September 24, 2020, and the mother told me that she had found her a husband. When I asked about the age of the girl, she told me the girl is a born of May 5, 2002. I Am surprised that the Police were informed otherwise”, he said.

The arrest of the group comes at a time Kaberamaido and other districts of Teso sub-region are battling a surge in teenage pregnancies that have been worsened by COVID-19 pandemic. In Kaberamaido district, cases of child marriages are common in Ochero and Kobulubulu sub-counties, according to statistics available at the district probation and welfare office.

Between July 2019 and July 2020, Ochero recorded 111 cases of child marriages, Kobulubulu 102 and Kaberamaido sub-county and Town council 108. Other sub-counties of Alwa and Aperikila recorded 62 and 56 cases respectively from the same period.