19-year-old Maracha man arrested over defiling 5-year-old girl

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Maracha, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | In Maracha district, the police have apprehended a 19-year-old man, Habibu Apiku, on charges of allegedly defiling a 5-year-old girl.

Apiku, residing in Kololo West village, Vurra Parish in Tara sub-county, reportedly seized the opportunity of the minor’s parents’ absence to lure her to his house on Friday 12, January 2024, where the alleged defilement occurred. After the incident, Apiku fled to an undisclosed location.

The issue gained attention on Saturday 13th when the parents observed bleeding from the girl’s private parts. Tara sub-county LC III vice chairperson, Richard Amazu, revealed that upon learning of the incident, residents initiated a search for Apiku.

Despite being found hiding in Kololo Trading Centre on Monday 15th, he narrowly escaped a lynching attempt by an enraged mob. Tara Police swiftly intervened, preventing further harm, and subsequently arrested the suspect.

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Dante Obia, a local resident, condemned the incident as unfortunate and inhumane. He linked such behavior to moral decay and drug abuse prevalent among the youth in the district.

The police have charged Apiku with aggravated defilement.

Records from Tara police post indicate that, from July 2023 to the present, at least three defilement cases have been documented in the area.

Addressing defilement cases in Uganda: An overview of key concerns

Defilement cases continue to be a significant societal concern in Uganda, with numerous reported incidents involving both adults and minors. The term “defilement” typically refers to sexual intercourse with a person below the age of consent, which is 18 in Uganda.

Key points regarding defilement cases in Uganda include:

  • Legal framework: Uganda has specific laws in place to address defilement, primarily outlined in the Penal Code Act. The legal age of consent is set at 18 years, and any sexual activity with individuals below this age is considered defilement. The legal framework is crucial in holding offenders accountable for their actions.
  • Age of consent: One of the defining aspects of defilement cases is the age of consent. Individuals below the age of 18 are legally unable to provide consent for sexual activities. Cases involving sexual intercourse with minors are treated as defilement, emphasizing the need to protect vulnerable individuals.
  • Reporting and prosecution: Defilement cases often face underreporting due to various factors, including fear, stigma, and cultural barriers. Efforts have been made to encourage reporting, and law enforcement agencies are actively involved in investigating and prosecuting offenders. Encouraging survivors to come forward is crucial in ensuring justice is served.
  • Community sensitization: Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), government agencies, and community-based organizations play a vital role in conducting awareness and sensitization campaigns. These initiatives aim to educate communities about the legal consequences of defilement, dispel myths, and foster an environment where reporting is encouraged.
  • Challenges: Defilement cases in Uganda face several challenges, including delays in legal proceedings, limited resources, and the need for improved support systems for survivors. Addressing these challenges is essential to ensure a more effective response to such cases.

While efforts are underway to address defilement cases in Uganda through legal frameworks, community sensitization, and survivor support, there is still work to be done. Continued collaboration between law enforcement, NGOs, and communities is crucial to creating an environment where survivors feel empowered to report and where perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.