A 12-year-old girl who had been forcefully married off to a 28-year-old man has been rescued by her 14-year-old sister in-law at their home in Lpartuk village in Samburu central sub county.
In a strange twist of events, the savior girl and a sister to the groom, hatched a plan to rescue her younger sister in-law by taking her to a girl’s rescue center about 30 kilometres away where they would both seek shelter.
Speaking to KNA Friday after being rescued, the teenage bride confirmed that her elder brother together with her parents secretly married her off in December last year.
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She further confirmed both her friend and herself had never been enrolled to school and their thirst for education compelled them to defy traditions and run away together.
“I know it’s wrong for my parents and brother to abet marriage of small a girl who is supposed to be enrolled for learning and since I have never been taken to school myself, I figured out that I will be married off next, that’s when I decided enough is enough we will run away to where we will be educated,” said the 14-year-old.
Lpartuk village assistant Chief Raphael Lekalgalo speaking Thursday said the two girls trekked to Samburu Girls Foundation centre in Loosuk area seeking help to join school, but they were denied entry at the gate.
“When they reached there, the security man at the gate asked them to come with a letter from their chief, they then proceeded to an ECD center where a teacher told them to come with their parents and that is when they came to me,” said the chief.
He said an official complaint has been filed at the Maralal police station and there are plans to arrest the minor’s parents and the 28-year-old man who had married her.
“We want them to serve as an example to others who are violating girl’s rights, if we get other culprits we will also arrest and take them to court,” he said.
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The administrator said these girls who had been taking care of goats in the village would have been rescued long time ago had it not been some misleading information from some village elders.
“I heard about this early marriage and when I went to investigate I was shown an adult girl dressed in the 12-year-old clothes and I was informed that she was the bride until today when a security man at Loosuk rescue center called to inform me that there were children who needed my help,” he said.
He asked parents to ensure all their children go to school to benefit from government’s compulsory free primary and secondary education.
A children’s rights activist in Samburu county Ann Lelesiit said that there a lot of challenges in helping girls who are in need of help.
She noted that in the entire county there was no orphanage or rescue center to accommodate girls rescued from gender based violence.
By the time of going to the press, Lelesiit’s plans to have the girls taken to Loosuk girls’ rescue center were on going.
KNA by Robert Githu