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Mityana Authorities Concerned About Minor Offenders

Captain Yahaya Kakooza, the Mityana Resident District Commissioner, says some criminals have now resorted to recruiting minors because they have realised that police, the public and laws are lineate to minors.

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Mityana district authorities are concerned about the involvement of minors in capital offenses. Records from police show that more than 17 minors were picked up between May and June this year in connection to numerous offenses including murder, rape, manslaughter and robbery among others.

 

Thirteen of the 17 youths appeared in court and were remanded to Naguru Children Remand Centre pending prosecution.  Norbert Ochom, the Wamala Region Police Spokesperson, says juveniledelinquency in Mityana is alarming. "At least every day a child is arrested or reported for a given crime within Mityana. Besides their involvement in capital offenses like murders, they are also popular for petty theft," says Ochom.

 

 

He says their investigations also show that the minors are behind the anonymous leaflets threatening to attack on different households throwing residents in panic. "We have so far arrested a number of them. We are preparing to forward them to court for prosecution," he said.

 

 

Captain Yahaya Kakooza, the Mityana Resident District Commissioner, says some criminals have now resorted to recruiting minors because they have realised that police, the public and laws are lineate to minors.

 

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Captain Kakooza who chairs the District Security Committee, says their assessment shows that unless the situation is contained now, the minors may progress into big criminals.

 

 

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Kakooza says they recently held a District Coordination Committee meeting under chain link involving Police, the judiciary, Prisons and other stakeholders to forge a way of dealing with the minor offenders.

 

 

Andrew Muyingo, the Executive Director, Samaritans for Children, an organisation involved in child protection and caring in Mityana blames the problem on drug abuse, child neglect and peer influence.

 

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Joseph Luzige, the Mityana LC V Chairperson, says for many years the district has been sensitizing parents to play their parental roles to ensure that they nurture their offspring into good citizens in vain.

Luzige also cites the high school dropout in Mityana as another cause of juvenile delinquency, saying once a child drops out of school they tend to look for what to do to earn a living thus ending up in criminal activities.

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He says the district is looking forward to empowering the probation office to ensure the vice is checked. Although the probation officer was not available for a comment, URN learnt that the office is least funded and understaffed.

 

Muyingo says its high time government embarked on creation of rehabilitation centers where minor offenders can be rehabilitated. "When the child is arrested there is need to counsel them so that they reform. But in the entire Wamala Region we don't have any facility of that nature and most of the minor offenders arrested here are at times taken to Naguru," Muyingo notes.

Captain Kakooza agrees with Muyingo, saying when they fail to get transport to move the minors to Naguru, they leave them in the cells with adult offenders, which is unlawful. A child in Uganda is considered a person under age 18. The age of criminal responsibility is 12 years old.