ARUA, UGANDA: Arua district is grappling with a surge in defilement cases. Over 1,000 cases were reported between January and June this year. Records from the district probation and social welfare department show that at least 1,008 young girls between 3 and 17 years of age were defiled over the past six months.
The most affected sub-counties are Arivu, Ajia, Vurra, and Logiri. Stephen Eguma, the Arua District Probation and Welfare Officer says that most of the affected girls are of school-going age. He says the perpetrators of the vice are mostly relatives of the girls who are supposed to take care of them.
Jimmy Anguyo, the Child and Family Protection Unit head at Arua central police station notes that although some defilement cases are reported to police, others go unreported since some parents prefer negotiating with the suspects.
Emily Drijaru, the executive director of integrated child services consults, a local non-governmental organization in Arua blames the escalating defilement cases on poverty, poor parenting, and the prolonged lockdown that led to the closure of schools.
She says there is a need for massive sensitization about the vice noting that if no action is taken, the number of girls being defiled could even double in the coming year.
Defilement means having or attempting sexual intercourse with a child under 18 years of age and is punishable by liable life imprisonment under Section 129 of the Penal Code Act upon conviction.