Police pursue parents, 55-year-old suitor over minor’s marriage

Kacheliba Police station signpost.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

The police in West Pokot County are hunting for the parents of an underage girl who married her off to a 55-year-old suitor.

The police said the parents of the 15-year-old girl forced her into marriage as a second wife to the man in Kanyerus, North Pokot sub-county. They took off after the girl escaped the marriage and reported the matter to the police.

She fled the forced marriage on Monday night after living with the man for over two months and sought refuge at the Kacheliba Police Station.

The minor, who sat her 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations at Lonotwo Primary School, was sheltering at the station’s child protection unit.

She said her parents found the suitor and forcibly married her off, saying this happened before the KCPE results were released. 

"My parents took me to that old man for marriage. I was forced to stay there unwillingly. The man has a first wife." she said. 

The girl wants to study and become a doctor. 

Police said they were searching for the suitor and the girl’s parents, who they said had fled to Uganda after realising that they were in trouble for their actions. 

They have also pledged to ensure the girl joins secondary school so she can pursue her dreams.

“As police officers, we will help her join a secondary school. We won't take her back home,” said Kacheliba police station commander (OCPD) Tom Nyangau.

He said the girl, who has only one hand because the other was amputated, ran to the nearest police station at night as police officers launched a search for her tormentors.

Commander Nyangau said many criminals in the region flee to Uganda, making it difficult for the police to arrest them.

"But we believe we will get the girl’s parents and the suitor," he said. 

He cautioned parents in the region against marrying off their young children, advising them to take them to school instead.

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