Police in Kwale County have decried the increased cases of defilement, rape, and incest in the region.
Area County Police Commander (CPC) Joseph Nthenge said 34 cases have been reported in the area since March when schools closed as part of COVID-19 control and prevention measures.
The police, children’s department, civil society activists and other stakeholders are scratching their heads in a bid to establish the motive behind the increase in the barbaric acts.
Last week, a ten-year-old girl gave birth to twins at the Kwale referral hospital, where her parents said their efforts to press her to reveal who was responsible for the pregnancy bore no fruit.
Speaking in his office in Kwale town Wednesday, Nthenge urged the media to join hands with the police, religious leaders and other partners in sensitising local communities on the dangers of the vices.
The police chief called for a concerted effort in creating awareness and educating the people against such social vices since ‘we believe they were happening as a result of moral decadence.’
Plan International Kwale Programme Manager Harriet Osimbo also confirmed that defilement, rape, and incest cases were on the rise in the region.
She noted that the incidents could be more as some family members do not report them for fear of reprisals, while others wanted to prevent a breakdown of social fabric.
Osimbo said the trend was worrying and attributable to the long school break as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
She said the school closure during the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in girls spending more time with men and boys than they would, had they been in school.
Osimbo said such long holidays lead to a greater likelihood of engagement in risky sexual behaviour and increased risk of sexual violence and exploitation.
Justine Masha of Tsimba children home said they are currently giving refuge to six minors who were abused by close family members in which two of them are heavily pregnant.
Masha said even as Kenyans eagerly await the reopening of schools, teenage pregnancy and sexual abuse threaten the prospect of girls returning to school.
Meanwhile, a middle-aged man who went missing from home on Sunday was Wednesday morning found hanging from a mango tree not far from his homestead in Simkumbe village, Tiwi location of Matuga sub-county of Kwale.
Passersby saw his body in the morning and informed police who removed the body to the Kwale referral hospital mortuary.
Matuga sub-county police Commander Francis Nguli confirmed the incident, saying police suspect it was a case suicide, though no corresponding note was found.
The deceased has been identified as Hamisi Mwakuya and villagers said the man was undergoing financial and marital stress.
By Hussein Abdullahi