Police officers from Jinja’s Bugembe police station have rescued a 13-year-old girl who was allegedly married off to a 17-year-old adolescent.
The teen was recovered during an operation in Bugembe’s Budhumbuli cell, where the pair had been renting for the previous year. The operation was prompted by a report from neighbors who claimed the young couple was consuming drugs, fighting constantly, and being disruptive.
“In June of last year, the couple began renting here. They pretended to be siblings who were temporarily living together while waiting for schools to resume. However, over time, we witnessed them consuming drugs together, fighting endlessly, and using foul language,” said Lovisa Namususwa, a local neighbor.
The 13-year-old was a primary five student prior to her marriage. During the lockdown last year, however, both of her parents, who worked as casual laborers in industries, lost their jobs, divorced, and left her in the care of her grandma Linda Tumwebaze.
However, the adolescent girl claims that she wanted to marry when her grandma failed to provide for her basic needs such as clothing, food, and pads. Tumwebaze, on the other hand, claims that her granddaughter was influenced by peer pressure because most adolescent females in their neighborhood are married.
Detectives have been dispatched to track down the other kid, who will be prosecuted with defilement, according to Kiira Regional Police Spokesperson James Mubi. Mubi goes on to say that there are multiple unreported child sex-related offenses in Bugembe ward, prompting the police to launch a community policing campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the repercussions of tolerating child rights violations.