Uganda police save underage Sudanese from forced marriage, mother on the run

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Police in Uganda have stopped a forced marriage between a 17 year old girl and a 56 year old southern Sudanese soldier from taking place. The girl, whose name has not been disclosed, is a Sudanese refugee studying in Uganda. She is currently in safe custody at Gulu police station, 300 kms north of Uganda ‘s capital Kampala.

A police officer at Gulu police station, Silver Okuti said that the young girl “was brought here by officials of save the children. She says she escaped from her mother who was taking her to Sudan to give her to an old soldier so that she becomes his wife.”

Okuti said that the girl told them that her mother, Patricia Nakepei, who is married to a soldier of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, told her that she too was to be married to a Sudanese soldier. He said that the girls mother picked her from where she was staying with other Sudanse relatives in Kampala and was taking her to Sudan when she jumped out of the vehicle and took refugee in a vehicle belonging to Save the children.

Okuti said,”The girl says that as they approached Migera trading center (about 150 kms north of Kampala towards Sudan) she opened the door of the Sudan-registered car she was traveling in with her mother and threw herself on the side of the street. She took refuge in a Save the Children vehicle parked on the roadside and pleaded with its occupants for help. They brought her here.”

According to Okuti, the girl said this was not the first time her mother attempted to force marriage on her. She claims that early this year, Nakepei took her to Juba to visit the very soldier she wants her to get married to called Abdullah Guot. She said the 56-year-old Guot raped her three times before she escaped back to Uganda.

Okuti said that the matter has been taken over by Care International and Human Rights Focus. He said the mother is on run.

In Uganda, the law stipulates that a girl below 18 years is not supposed to get married because she is a minor.

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