KAGERA:WITH cases of violence against children escalating in the country, police in Kagera Region have arrested two suspects for allegedly raping two girls aged between five and ten years.
Kagera Regional Police Commander Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Blasius Chatanda said the first incident happened on December 26, 2023, at around 9.00 a.m. in Bukoba Municipal’s Musira Island in Miembeni Ward.
He explained that a suspect, identified as Philemon Revelian (39), a fisherman residing at Musira Island allegedly raped his stepdaughter aged five years old (name withheld), when he was left with the child at home after her mother had gone to Zamzam Health Centre for delivery.
“Investigations revealed that on that material date the mother, Gaudensia Charles (30), who was expecting, had gone to Zamzam Health Centre where she delivered a baby boy.
However, on her return, she was informed that her child had been raped and was rushed to the Bukoba Regional Referral Hospital for treatment. The suspect will be arraigned when investigations are completed,” he said.
ACP Chatanda further said that on January 2nd, this year a suspect identified as Gaudioza Yepa (42) a businessman residing at Karagwe District’s Kayanga township allegedly raped a ten-year-old girl (name withheld), a Standard Four pupil, after offering to her a lift in his car with registration number T639 BKP.
He explained that the incident happened at around 8.00 p.m. The suspect was expected to be brought to court on Tuesday to answer the charge.
ACP Chatanda explained that a report by the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC 2018) revealed that violence against children is on the rise in the country, with a significant increase in the number of incidents reported to the police in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
“About 6,376 incidents of violence against children were reported to the police by mid-2018 up from 4,728 incidents by mid-2017.
Sexual violence against children is also on the rise. There were 759 reported cases of child rape reported to the police in the first six months of 2017 compared to 2,365 in 2018,” he said.
RPC Chatanda appealed to family members to take necessary steps to safeguard the welfare of children and ensure that they get a proper upbringing from the grassroots level and enroll them in school.
He explained that the government was committed to ensuring that acts of violence against children are brought to an end, thus calling for joint efforts from all stakeholders to end the vice.
“Some of the children were neglected, forcing them to live in the streets begging, while others were not attending school and some of them were raped. Investigations revealed that major perpetrators include relatives and neighbours,” he said.
Adding: “Several studies show that 60 per cent of acts of violence against children occur at home. The studies further reveal that those who commit acts of violence are family members. The highest challenge of dealing with violence against children is the silence and the habit of resolving and ending cases clandestinely at the family level,” he hinted.
Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 6: states…. parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.