By John Odyek and Ibrahim Ruhweza
Residents of Makindye East Division, Kampala City are seeking security intervention over the increasing cases of teenage criminal activities in the area.
Some suspected thieves are said to be boys who could have dropped out of school during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Stella Aliru, the officer in charge of the Kansanga Police Station, said some children were turning to theft so as to survive.
She said it is sometimes difficult to arrest children or juvenile offenders, but when the community gets them, the Police take them to juvenile detention centres.
“Some children are now turning into criminals. They are like street children and they do not know their parents. They move around aimlessly. You cannot tell whether they are from within the area or a different area,” Aliru said.
She noted that some children come from other areas such as Kirombe near Luzira to Kansanga to play football, while others move around as scrap collectors and end up stealing people’s properties.
Aliru said in case the children are arrested, the Kansanga Police Station cannot accommodate them due to lack of facilities to detain juveniles.
According to researchers from the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) Stellah Kwasi, Mohammod T. Irfan, and Taylor Hanna, the disruption due to COVID-19 in the pandemic’s first two years have caused a significant loss in learning and quality of education in Uganda.
“Over 15 million learners are estimated to have missed school and some teachers resorted to other economic activities. This reduction in enrollment has consequences for other population-level education outcomes in the long run.
“Having spent two years out of school due to the recently concluded lockdown, some pupils and students are suspected to have lost interest in education and resorted to terrorising the area,” read part of the report entitled Potential effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns on long-term educational attainment in Uganda produced by the EPRC.
Ronald Senfuka, the L1 chairperson at Sebuliba Zone in Kansanga, told New Vision that some children have lost interest in reporting back to school after being away for two years.
“Some of those who have been redundant have lost interest in going back to school. They are turning into gangsters and robbers. They break into people’s houses during the day or night as long as they see a chance,” he said.
Senfuka urged security agencies to be more vigilant about juvenile offenders and advised parents to convince their children to go back to school.