13-Year-Old Girl Rescued after Six Months of Detention and Starvation

A 13-year-old in Kasese who was locked in a room for six months and almost starved to death, has been rescued by her neighbors.

The girl, Susan Ithungu, is admitted in Bwera Hospital in a critical condition. She is severely malnourished, sick and her skin is covered with open wounds.

Ithungu's neighbors first noticed her disappearance several months ago. They asked her father Deya Baluku of Kyambara in Bwera Sub-County where she was, but he was always elusive in his answers.

Suspicions about the girl's whereabouts grew. Deya Baluku is a traditional healer of ill-repute in Kyambara who recently separated from his wife in a bitter divorce. The neighbors feared the worst.

On Tuesday night they broke into Baluku's house and rescued Susan Ithungu.

Ithungu says her father locked her up to forcefully treat her for an unknown illness. She says he rarely gave her food to eat and didn't allow her to leave the small room in which she stayed to play or relieve herself.

Abubaker Mushid, the officer in charge of Bwera Police Post, says Deya Baluku was arrested for child abuse and neglect. He says that during interrogation Baluku said it was necessary to lock up his daughter in order to treat her.

This is the second case of the kind to be reported in Kasese.

In 2006 an elderly woman from Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council was arrested for illegally detaining and starving her 12-year-old granddaughter.