National
12-year-old married off, Police probesPublish Date: Oct 22, 2012
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By Patson Baraire

She was bright, both her peers and her mother Annet Ariho were optimistic that one day she would make her family proud by excelling in school.

Unlike her peers though, at 12 years of age this girl (name withheld) was in P5 at Rugoga Primary School in Rutenga Sub County in Kanungu district where most get to such a class aged 17 and ripe for marriage by village standards.

Her father only identified as Fulgence Tumusiime, a resident of Kinyafungwe Village, Mafuga parish in Rutenga Sub County has been accused of marrying her off to a timber dealer whose identity Police is yet to establish.

Consequently the girl's mother turned against custom and reported the matter to the LCs who advised her to report the matter to higher authorities.

"My husband has already sanctioned the marriage because he was given some money and has kept quiet and even fled the village because he knows that he would be arrested," Ariho said tearfully when contacted last week..

According the Kanungu District Education Officer Willy Bakiga they received a report about the incident and informed the Chief Administrative Officer and the Police accordingly.

Kanungu District Police Commander Moses Ssemakula confirmed that they are investigating the report and are closing in on the suspected defiler.

"We received the information that an underage girl was forced into marriage by her father in Rutenga sub county and we have sent an order to verify and if found true we are going to arrest the girl's father and the alleged defiler," Ssemakula said.

Ssemakula said the father of the girl is currently on the run and the suspected defiler is believed to have fled to Bunyoro.

"We are going to do what it takes to ensure that the culprit is arrested and brought to justice and the parent involved will not be spared either," Ssemakula said.

In June 2012, the Police in Kanungu released a report indicating that at least 78 girls had been defiled since January.

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