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11-year-old girl hangs self after being forced to act as scarecrow in garden

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By Asuman Musobya

Police in Bugiri District are investigating circumstances under which an 11-year-old girl took her own life, after she was reportedly forced to act as a scarecrow and watch over the family’s rice field.

Amina Nakyema, a primary four pupil of Nabukalu Primary School and a resident of Namundolela Village, Nabukalu Town Council in Bugiri District, was on Wednesday found hanging on a mango tree by farmers who were heading to their rice gardens.

It is unclear who allegedly forced the deceased to watch over the rice field, but according to residents, she was staying with her elder sister identified as Mariam Nakyema.

Ms Nakyema, who later recorded a statement at Nabukalu Police Post, told detectives that on that fateful day, she headed to the rice field with the deceased but returned home to prepare breakfast.

“I was shocked to receive a phone call from one of my neighbours, notifying me that Amina had hanged herself. I could not believe it until I got to the scene,” she told detectives.

She added that the deceased had earlier threatened to commit suicide after she was told to collect water from the borehole and that she took it as a joke and remained unfazed.

Mr Geoffrey Kakaire, the Nabukalu Sub-county LC3 chairman, called for urgent government intervention warning that children have been married off during the lockdown while some have developed suicidal thoughts.

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“Some children have been married off, others are engaging in sand mining and theft of properties has also increased. I humbly call upon the government to look for possible ways of opening up schools in order to avoid such problems,” he said.

Mr Stanley Okitwi Obonyo, the Namundolela Village LC1 chairman, said many children are suffering in silence without any help and mooted the idea of having meetings to sensitise the locals on how to stay with children.

By press time, police led by the district police commander, Mr Douglas Erem, were looking for more leads into the matter, while the body lay at Bugiri Hospital mortuary awaiting an autopsy.

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