Uganda Human Rights Commission is investigating the police in
Kotido for mismanaging a defilement case.
In August, Phillip Lomongin, the LCI Chairperson of Kanayete
Village in Kotido Sub County reported a defilement case involving a
six-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy to the police at Lokitelaebu.
However, he was turned away by the OC station Gabriel Acuka who
advised him to settle the case with the parents of the victim and the accused.
The officer noted that the case involved minors and therefore
police could not prefer charges on the accused.
However, the Uganda Human Rights Regional Officer for Karamoja
Chris Ogwang says the Commission is following up the matter.
“I have instructed our field officers in Kotido to investigate the
matter.’ In my view, the police should have acted. Under the law, one is
criminally liable at 12. Only that they cannot be put in custody with adults”
Ogwang added that they want to understand the circumstances under which the
people who reported the case were turned down without any action by the police.
Our reporter has established that the child has so far received some treatment
from Lokitelaebu Health Centre III but no psychosocial support has been
rendered yet. No case has also been opened to date.
Currently, the girl is under the care of the aunt, Betty Loryang while the
parents whose names have been withheld live some 20 km away in Rengen Sub
County, and have abandoned following up the case.
Speaking in a telephone interview, the father of the survivor, Lokiru [not his
real name] says he is stranded on the next course of action after police let
He claims that the other efforts to seek attention from women
rights advocate, Karamoja Women Umbrella Body have been fruitless.
The District Police Commander Kotido, Apollo Kyangungu says that
they are yet to decide on the next course of action based on the Children
Diversion Guidelines for Police Officers.
// cue in “As the new guidelines...
Cue out…apart from child guidelines”/
The Children’s’ guidelines indicate that children aged 12 years
and above are criminally responsible for their offenses when they come in
conflict with the law in case of capital offenses, like murder and defilement.