Lamu police launch campaign to arrest men marrying underage girls

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Lamu, KENYA: Police in Lamu have launched a campaign to arrest and prosecute men who marry underage girls in the region.

The campaign also targets child defilers, parents and guardians who allow, coerce or force their underage girls into early marriage when in fact they should be in school.

Speaking in his office on Tuesday, Lamu county police commander Muchangi Kioi said as police, they were alarmed with the rate at which child defilement and early marriages are happening in Lamu.

Kioi said such cases were especially rampant in Hindi and Mokowe areas.

Kioi said it was unfortunate that parents in the region were the leading culprits in child defilement while many others prefer to settle such cases out of court instead of seeking legal redress.

He accused parents of colluding with child defilers to reap money.

“We have received reports of parents who reach deals with child defilers and are offered money for their silence. The same has been the case with those who are found to have impregnated school girls. The trend is making the situation worse,” said Kioi.

The police commander warned that such parents will be arrested and charged with collusion to commit a crime against their own children.

Kioi asked communities in Lamu to respect child rights and also invest in the education of their children in order to address the rampant poverty levels in the region.

He revealed that seven children had been raped in Hindi and Mokowe this month alone.

He said that the operation will especially target the two areas which have now become renowned due to the ill trend.

“How do you have seven children raped in a single month? And mark you that’s just the figure of reported cases, many more don’t see the light as parents sweep them under the carpet. This must stop,” he said.

Kioi has appealed to NGOs and other concerned bodies to intervene and seek solutions on the matter.

In April this year, the World Vision organization released a report stating that at least 25 girls have been sexually abused by their own biological fathers between January and May.

The organization also revealed that early marriages were a huge hindrance towards the education of girls in the region.

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