Uganda: Child Abuse Rampant in Lango, Says Police Report

By Isaac Otwii

A police report has revealed that children in Lango Sub-region face all kinds of abuses, including torture, neglect, trafficking, and defilement or sexual exploitation.

The heinous crimes are allegedly perpetrated against the children by parents or caretakers, peers, and strangers.

The police quarterly report that was released last week, revealed that at least 625 cases of crimes against children were registered in the sub-region in a span of four months - from January to April.

A case in point is that of Elizabeth Akello, who has been missing. She was last spotted with a stranger around Timber Yard in Lira City on April 8.

However, at the weekend, residents of Lira City found a decomposing body of a child.

Ms Hellen Olam, a resident of Agali B Cell in Lira City East Division, said the body was first discovered by her grandchildren.

"When I sent my grandchildren to fetch firewood in the nearby bush, they told me that they saw a human skeleton, a slipper and clothes. I immediately informed the area chairperson, who later informed the police," Ms Olam said.

Mr Peter Okwir, the chairperson of Agali B Cell, confirmed the incident saying: "The police told took me to the crime scene to confirm if indeed the decomposing body was for a child."

Mr Lawrence Egole, the Lira Resident City Commissioner, said the body has not been buried since investigations were still ongoing.

Mr Egole, who has been spearheading the search for Akello, said: "What I know is that we discovered a decomposing body. The body was taken to Lira hospital for a postmortem."

But Ms Dilish Adero, the mother of Akello, has come out to claim the decomposing body is that of her daughter.

"I came here (crime scene) and found her remains packed in a sack but one thing I am sure of are the clothes and the sandals that match those of my missing child," Ms Adero said.

Mr Egole said: "We cannot right now declare that it is the body of the child that went missing in April. The age of the decomposed body must first be ascertained."

North Kyoga regional police spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema said they were yet to take samples to the Government Analytical Laboratory in Kampala for a DNA test.

Torture case

On May 30, a picture of a 5-year-old child in Lira District went viral on different social media platforms.

The picture showed bruises and scars the child sustained after he was allegedly tortured by his stepmother.

Mr Okema revealed that the woman, who allegedly tortured the child, was arrested after a tip-off by activists.

Police statistics

Data from the North Kyoga regional police headquarters suggests that Lango provides an unsafe environment for children. Police data shows that defilement was the leading cause of crimes against children in Lango with 271 cases followed by child neglect with 255.

At least 68 cases of child desertion, 18 of child abuse, and six cases of child disappearance were also recorded in the same period. Two cases of child kidnap, one case of child trafficking, and two cases of child stealing were also recorded.

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