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Activists protest rising rate of rape in Kisumu

NYANZA
By Hezron Ochiel | Jun 2nd 2014 | 3 min read
Kisumu County Police Commander David Ngetich. He says reports of sexual attacks are made mostly when the evidence has been tampered with, making it difficult to hold up the cases in court. [Photo: File / Standard]

Kisumu, Kenya: Child protection activists have raised concern over rising cases of defilement and rape in Kisumu County.

With 60 cases of defilement reported this year alone, the activists blamed the soaring numbers on laxity by police to pursue the perpetrators.

Helen Apiyo, the team leader at Watoto Msilie, says most suspects disappear after obtaining court bail.

‘‘The police should ensure that the criminals are pursued. The officers also need proper training to deal with child rape cases,’’ said Apiyo.

In many informal settlements like Nyalenda, rapists are targeting children playing outside and luring them to bed with sweets.

Only two months ago, a middle-aged man defiled a nine-year-old girl at a local school. The man was said to have lured two school-going children with sweets while they were playing in the school and allegedly defiled them on three different occasions.

Millicent Onyango, a social worker with the county government, says the matter was reported to them by a colleague.

Cash exchange

‘‘My colleague alerted us and when we visited the school, we found the two victims and took them to hospital for examination. Five other children have been defiled in a similar manner,’’ said Ms Onyango.

The suspect was arraigned in court and charged with committing an indecent act on the children.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on a bond of Sh80,000 plus one surety of a similar amount or an alternative of Sh40,000 as cash bail. The case will be heard on November 29.

Residents said another rape case was reported in the same school two months ago and the matter settled in exchange for Sh50,000.

The activists have warned parents against concealing such cases. They say many cases have been reported in the region but because of fear of reprisals, parents often opt not to report the cases.

‘‘Some drop the matter in exchange for cash. But this only promotes the crime,’’ said Apiyo.

Three weeks later, an incident involving a group of boda boda men who allegedly gang raped a customer and escaped was reported.

Cases of women being raped by gangsters have been reported in Migosi, Manyatta and Mamboleo areas.

The police, however, say many rape cases collapse due to lack of sufficient evidence.

“Sometimes the cases are reported too late, when the evidence has already been tampered with. But we try our best to pursue the suspects,’’ said David Ngetich, the county police commandant.

It is against this backdrop that a one-stop rescue centre named A Co-ordinated Response to Gender Based Violence worth Sh17.2 million was opened a few weeks ago at the Nyanza Provincial Hospital to cater for rape and gender-based violence victims.

County Director of Medical Services Ojwang Lusi said the facility, one of its kind in the region, would manage rape and sodomy cases.

“We have seen fathers who have turned into beasts and molested their daughters. This facility will help handle such cases,’’ said Dr Lusi.

The centre, which is funded by Kenya Medical Research Institute and Centre for Disease Control, will provide comprehensive care services for more than 500 survivors of rape and other forms of gender-based violence within the former Nyanza region and beyond.

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