14-Year-Old Kidnapped for Forced Marriage in Kyotera district
Fred Enanga the police spokesperson

Having coordinated with the Directorate of Operations, Crime Intelligence, and Greater Masaka Police, the CID has arrested four suspects, closely linked to the kidnapping, trafficking, and forced marriage of a 14-year-old girl in Kabuta LCI village, Mayanja Parish, and Kakuuto Sub-county.

The Directorate of CID in close coordination with the Directorate of Operations, Crime Intelligence and Greater Masaka Police, have in custody four suspects, highly linked to the alleged kidnap, trafficking with intent to forcefully marry, a 14-year-old girl victim from Kabuta LCI village, Mayanja Parish, Kakuuto Sub-county, in Kyotera district. 

The four suspects include; Kigundu Augustine, Musiri Geoffrey, who actively participated in the kidnap while still putting on the jumper he was wearing during the commission of the offence, Tumwine Sam, who led the police to the arrest of Kigundu Augustine and Rukumiriza George, all residents of Kamuganja “B” LCI.

According to Fred Enanga the police spokesperson, facts gathered indicate that on 8th August, one Kobusingye Merabu, the paternal Aunt of Kansiime Naome alias Ninsiima visited, her sister Kirezi Keren, a 35-year-old mother of the victim at Kabuta village.

“She feigned sickness and wanted the elder daughter of her brother, to go and help take care of her, until she recovered. She however, got when the elder sister had under gone on an operation and was sickly. She then switched to the 14-year-old victim. The mother of the victim initially objected, but eventually allowed her to go and help for one week from the 6th – 10th of August, 2022,” Enanga said.

“The victim and her Aunt set off on boda boda, but upon reaching Mukyombe village, located between Kabuta LCI and Kamuganja “B” LCI, the paternal Aunt started convincing her to get into marriage, which the victim rejected. They found a vehicle parked with occupants and others standing outside, who were known to the victim’s Aunt.”

He said the group of eight men, grabbed the victim from the boda boda registration number UFK 215Y and forced her into the waiting Premio car, registration number UBB 256Y driven by one Innocent Birungi of Kyotera Town Council. 

The victim was sandwiched between two men in the hind seat, while the paternal Aunt sat with the driver in front. 

The remaining five male suspects followed them on bodabodas, up to the home of Bataringaya in Kamuganja “B” LCI for marriage, to one of the sons.

He said at the destination, the victim was also confined to a bedroom, where she was joined by the Aunt. She wept for all the days she was confined till 8.08.2022, when she heard the phone conversation, with the husband of her Aunt, threatening her with jail. 

“She however, continued to counsel her and share tips on marriage. It is on Tuesday 9.08.2022 at around 11pm, that the Aunt gave up on her, and hired a boda boda who transported her back to her home. The victim has since been transferred to Kampala, where she is getting counselling for the trauma she went through and better management; including plans of returning to school,” Enanga explained.

He, however, condemned the act of forceful child marriage. He said it is a harmful traditional and cultural practice which violates the rights of the girl child. 

The police spokesperson revealed the incident that was captured on video, showing that the practice still exists yet it has devastating physical and psychological effects on young girls. 

Among others, he said the practice puts girls at risk of rape on their forced wedding nights, endangers them with infectious diseases, draws them into premature motherhood, with added pressure to bear children and nature them. In extreme cases, it leads to depression, and loneliness in addition to suicide.

“Because culture is a phenomenon which is deeply embedded in communities, it calls for initiatives that can help change the mentality in parents and guardians, who do not see the harmful repercussions of child marriage and advantage of keeping children in school, through education, mobilization and usage of existing laws,” Enanga said.

“Educated girls and women, have more inner strength, which helps them understand their value, preserve their innocence, freedom of choice, knowledge about their rights, which should not be affected by traditional social norms.”

He, however, urged the general public to reject the illegal practice of child marriage in communities. He also tipped young girls to be more courageous and speak out against their families and other culprits who glorify child marriages.