Juvenile Offenders Worry Bunyangabu Residents

Juvenile Offenders Worry Bunyangabu Residents

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By Jay Tumwesige

Bunyangabu: The high number of juveniles who come into conflict with the law and often terrorise people is worrying residents in several parts of Bunyangabu district.

In the sub-counties of Kibiito, Rwimi, Buheesi, Rubona and Kyamukube children below the age of 16 are being involved in the theft of vanilla, rape and other offences.

John Byamugisha, a local leader in Kibiito sub-county said recently while handing over mattresses and scholastic materials to orphans and their caregivers in Mujunju that;

John Byamugisha handing over mattresses to orphans

“Most of the children are engaged in petty offences and asked the district council to urgently formulate a bylaw compelling parents to ensure that their children are in school.”

Byamugisha said that most of the juveniles in detention are orphans while others are from poor families. 

“Orphans and children from poor families should be supported by giving them special consideration when comes to education because most of them have dropped out of school and they are becoming criminals,” Byamugisha added.

He also blamed the increased crimes to parents or guardians who have neglected their responsibility of providing for their children.

Jackson Businge, a resident of Mujunju, said that several children are engaged in acts like stealing hens, raping and criminal trespass.

“Whenever we arrest the children and take them to Kibiito central police station they are released, because there is no detention facility for juveniles,” Businge said.

He said that most children instead of going to schools spend there time carrying out fishing in the creator lakes in the district.

“Fishing activities in the creator lakes has lured many children of school going age out of schools and we are appealing to the district authorities to regulate the activities,” Businge said.

Jennifer Kahumuza a programs officer at KANA out reach foundation a non government organisation operating in the Rwenzori region notes that domestic violence committed against children has forced many of the juveniles to run from their homes and as a result come into conflict with the law.

‘Parents and guardians should be reminded of their roles because they have abandoned their roles and as a result we are seeing an increase in the number of children running from their homes,” Kahumuza said.

Sam Koojo the director for mssion of Hope and peace children’s home a charity organisation operating in Bunyangabu district said that organisation is supporting the orphans in the district with scholastic materials and paying for them fees as well as providing them with basic needs.

Koojo said that there was need to  create employment opportunities for youths which could deter them from engaging in criminal activities.

“We are supporting thousands of needy children with free medication, education and food, and extending psychosocial support to orphans, disadvantaged children and ex-child fighters across the whole district,” Koojo said.

Koojo said that the opportunities are in line with a commitment to building the capacities of the orphans and children from poor families to ensure that they also get the opportunity to attend school.

Peter Musinguzi the district councillor for Rubona town council and member of the district education and social services committee said that the district was grappling with the high numbers of children who drop out of schools.

“There is need to support children who have dropped out of school because that is still a very big challenge in Bunyangabu district and when they are out of schools they get involved in criminal acts, Musinguzi said.

Records available at Kibiito central police station indicate that on a daily basis three to five cases involving children are reported at the station on a daily basis.

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