By Stephen Enatu
Street children in Soroti city have decried harassment and abuse from police and its sister force Uganda Peoples’ Defense Force.
The street children raised this while interacting with our reporter after the New Year’s evening lunch prepared by the NRM flag bearer for MP Soroti City West, David Calvin Echodu.
William Opolot an adult now but who grew up on the streets and still survives on the streets revealed that because they live outside the protection of responsible adults, street children are easy and silent targets for abuse by security operatives and society at large.
He said on the streets, they are subjected to frequent beatings and arrest by security personnel as well as verbal abuse from society.
“Some of us need to be resettled, we are not bad people as society refers us to be thieves and robbers everywhere we pass and yet we move around looking for scrap to sell so that we can eat,” Opolot said.
Opolot said that some of the street children only require rehabilitation from dangerous habits like smoking and be engaged in skilled activities that can make them earn a living independently.
Emanuel Edeu, one of the street kids who left home in 2008 because his father denied fathering him appealed to leaders to look into their fate and talk to the police and UPDF.
“We are tired of being tortured by soldiers and policemen every day without a crime committed, I have eaten lunch now but I don’t know my fate tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile David Calvin Echodu after keenly listening to the challenges of the destitute children promised to restore hope in their lives by establishing projects that will directly target them.
“You the young ones who want to go back to school will be given an opportunity and the older persons shall be taught skills for survival,” he stated.
He further advised the children to always be calm and stay away from bad acts that may lead them into criminality.