By Wetondo Denis Julius
The current increased cases of theft, rape, and open defecation in Mbale City has been attributed to the influx of Street children after the collapse of Child Restoration Outreach (CRO).
CRO was a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) taking care of street children in Mbale City.
This was revealed to this website by Sarah Kalenda, the Probation Officer Mbale City yesterday 12th February 2021 in an exclusive interview.
The interview followed an outcry from City residents complaining of increased cases of petty theft, open defecation and rape.
“Since Mbale Child Restoration Outreach (CRO) collapsed last year, the City Council Authorities is facing a challenge of resettling the Street children permanently since we have no funds,” Kalenda said.
She added that last year during covid19 outbreak, they collected all street children in town and took them to a rehabilitation centre created at Namakwekwe Primary School located at Northern City Division.
“The center has however been affected with the first phase of school opening because there’s no space now to keep these children,” Kalenda added.
Kalenda also revealed that whereas others escaped back to the streets, the City Authorities engaged other partners like ‘Link the Child’ and ‘Jenga Uganda’ who took majority of the children between the ages of 10 – 17 years.
She attributed the increased cases of theft to what she called ‘Street Men) who are above 18 years. She said that the same Partners are willing to take off this category from the streets as well and take them for vocational training.
Stephen Mudoma, a resident from Namatala Ward, Industrial City Division says that the street kids target especially children and women. He identified Bishop Wasike, Naboa Roads and Republic Street as the most notorious areas where the kids operate from. They are most active during rush hours and night where they snatch bags and phones.
Suzan Namuwenge, also a resident from Nkoma ward in Northern city division says that since the shutdown of Namakwekwe Rehabilitation Center, the children have gone back to the Streets.
Rogers Taitika, the Elgon Region Police Spokesperson has urged the public especially women to be security conscious by not moving alone in dark corners during night time.
He revealed to this website that Police has registered over 11 cases of street kids snatching phones and hand bags of people during night time this month alone.