Authorities in Gulu have launched an operation to remove street children from the streets.
Authorities in Gulu have launched an operation to get rid of street children from the town. It follows an outcry by members of the public against the street children for their involvement in criminal activities. Members of the business community in Gulu Central Business District accuse the street children of engaging in petty thefts.
Jane Asimo, who operates a wholesale shop along Acholi Road, says that she has been forced to employ a person to watch over her merchandise displayed outside her shop because of the street children. She explains that she was forced to hire a guard after losing her merchandize to street children. Tony Opoya a shop keeper says the kids move around town picking any valuable thing that they can come across.
Johnson Kilama the Northern Police Spokesperson says that police have for the past two weeks arrested street children who are involved in criminal activities. He says the operation followed an outcry from members of the public who accuse street children of being behind the rise in petty crimes in the town. Kilama says a number of children have been arrested and taken to Gulu Children Remand Home for rehabilitation.
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A big number of children are however still on the streets. Some of the street children are engaged in selling empty water bottles at the pavement opposite Stanbic Bank. 10 year-old Charles Opio is one of those who are still on the streets to look for survival and a habitat. He explains that he has been on the streets since 2007 when his mother abandoned him and went to live in Kampala.
Opio says he and his friends face persistent harassment from members of the public who falsely accuse them of stealing their property. Emmanuel Owach who hails from Koch Goma says he has been on the streets o since 2009 when he lost both parents. He says he survives by selling empty water bottles. Owach says in a day he is able to get 2000 shillings from selling empty water bottles which he uses for buying food.
He claims that he and his friends are being victimized by the locals yet they survive by doing petty jobs around town like selling empty bottle. Owach says they live in squalid conditions and sometimes older street children beat them and grab the little money they have made.
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