Two Fathers Held for Marrying off Underage Children

Two men have been arrested in Lira for trying to marry off their underage children to each other.

The two men are Tom Onyango (38) and Edward Okello (35).

Onyango was trying to marry off his 12 year old daughter to Okello’s 16 year old son.

Onyango is a resident of Akuki cell, Adwoa parish while Okello hails from Bedamwol village. Both places are in Ogur sub county, Lira district.

The two men were arrested on Saturday in two police operations, a week after the marriage ceremony.

James Egum, the officer in charge Ogur police post, says two heads of cattle, four chicken, three hand hoes and 50,000 shillings paid as bride price were recovered.

Police were reportedly tipped off by a concerned person who had attended the ceremony.

Speaking to police, the girl revealed that her father had threatened to expel her from the family if she did not consent to the marriage.

The girl had already passed to join primary five this year at Coo-rom Primary school, just three kilometres from Barlonyo war memorial site where over 300 civilians were massacred by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in 2004.

Egum says the girl will be given pregnancy and HIV AIDs tests before being handed over to her family to continue her education.

Moses Ogwang Adonyo, chairperson education council committee, says many young girls drop out of school because they are pressured to get married early. The bride price they fetch is seen as a way to fight poverty in their families.

It is estimated that six out of ten children usually drops out before completion of primary seven usually to get married

Ogwang says the district has launched a campaign to boost girl child education and preach against violence against women.

2 thoughts on “Two Fathers Held for Marrying off Underage Children

  1. a thirteen year old daughter of my brother left school in P6, and eloped with a boy. After a lot of pressure, she came home, and told me in my face she had nothing to do with education, and could not stay in same compound with the father; she wanted her ‘own way’, and will be responsible for whatever happens. what could we do? we got s few cows and they have since settled down to a good family. I think there are socio-cultural aspects to this matter which should be delved into.

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