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Busia leaders team up to address street children’s plight

Busia Deputy County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto has expressed concern over the high number of street children within Busia town.

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting at the County Commissioner’s Boardroom Monday, Ruto said that the children were not only a menace, but also a security threat to the town.

“We are told they come from Uganda and they have become a menace,” he said, adding that they steal all forms of metallic objects they find on their way.

He added that such children also smuggle and abuse drugs alongside ferrying small arms to various parts of the country by hanging on long distance trucks plying the border town and beyond.

“So our meeting today is to come up with strategies and programs for action with a view to taming the vice,” he said, adding that some of them were school going children.

Busia Deputy County Director of Children Services Patrick Mukolwe reiterated that the number of street children was on the upward trend in both Busia and Malaba towns.

Mukolwe stated that most of the street children engage in collection of scrap metals, with others stealing property both during the day and at times when darkness falls.

“As a team we are looking for ways to reduce the number of children who are becoming truant and delinquent by joining others on the street,” he said.

He pointed out that a large number of the street children were from Uganda, hence the need to engage the cross border team to chart way forward on how best to handle the situation, before they influence the Kenyan children.

“Some go up to Siaya, Kisumu and beyond by hanging on the moving lorries, which pose great risks to their lives,” he said, adding that some are prone to accidents and even loss of lives.

The children’s officer stated that approximately 50 street children hang on moving trucks from the Busia border on a daily basis, with another 50 engaging in car washing activities, drug abuse and peddling at the Malaba side.

“We are looking at how to handle approximately 100 street children at the two borders to make sure that they go back to their families safely and look for mechanisms of rehabilitating those who cannot be reintegrated depending on the availability of resources,” he said.

Mukolwe urged the local community along the main road of Busia and Malaba to be vigilant and help the government explaining that the issue cannot be handled by one entity.

“It is for the families to look at the risks they are causing and give information to the relevant authorities about any child found idling so that we can work as a team to ensure that we curb the challenges,” he said.

A spot check by KNA has revealed that some notorious street children await moving long distance trucks especially where there are bumps before climbing.

Efforts by police officers to arrest them have proved difficult as these children alight at some distance before reaching the road block and walk past the facility only to climb the trucks after passing the officers.

By Salome Alwanda

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