July 12, 2024
Kampala Daily

Police rescue teenage girl from marriage with stepfather

Imagine being 14 again, the world a vast playground of dreams and possibilities. Now, strip away those dreams and replace them with the shackles of forced marriage.

At an age where one should be discovering the joys of learning, playing, and growing, a Primary Five girl in Uganda’s Kabarole district is being coerced into matrimony.

Police in the Hakibale sub-county, together with the Kabarole resident district commissioner (RDC) have rescued the 14-year-old girl from her stepfather’s home where she has been married in Nkambo village.

According to RDC Festus Bandeeba, they got information from the Faridah Monica Foundation Uganda located at Kiburara trading centre about how one of their beneficiaries has been married by her stepfather after he reportedly chased away her mother.

“Through Faridah Monica Foundation Uganda CEO Faridah Kabategeki, we were able to trace a home of one Ismail Mugume, where we found a girl of 14 years married to him after chasing away her biological mother and we were able to rescue her,” said Bandeeba said on Wednesday (May 29).

Kabategeki said the foundation has been paying school fees for the teenager at Kiburara Primary School where she has been studying from.

“I got a report from her biological mother that she [pupil] [had taken her place] in the marriage, which forced me to report the matter to the RDC’s office for intervention,” she said.

Richard Muhindo, who is in charge of Hakibale sub-county Police, said the girl has already been handed over to her caregiver foundation as they launch a search for the alleged defiler, Mugume, to be charged with defilement in courts of law.

The suspect’s father, Clovis Kateeba, said: “I support the Police to arrest my son”.

School dropouts due to early marriages in Kabarole district are still high, with Hakibale, Kasenda, Kicwamba, Karangura, and Mugusu sub-counties taking the lead.

Early marriages not only steal childhoods but also subject the victims to lifelong trauma and hardship.

Forced to abandon their education and thrust into adult responsibilities, these girls are deprived of their right to choose their paths.

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