Ten female minors suffering from the debilitating nodding syndrome in Pader district have been defiled within the last three weeks. According to Caritas, a Catholic charity organization working to protect children in the district, some of the perpetrators have since been apprehended and remanded at Kineni government Prison.
Mark Bernard Okot, the Caritas Programme Officer, told Uganda Radio Network that the men lured some of the girls into sex with gifts while their parents had gone to the gardens for daily routines.
Okot says the victims are from the parishes of Angole, Bolo, Bur-Lobo and Paibwor. He says the charity is working to provide free health services and psychosocial support to parents and children suffering from the syndrome.
Roslyn Ocaya, the Police officer in charge of the Child and Family Protection Unit, tells Uganda Radio Network that up to 88 girls were defiled since the beginning of the year in the district.
Ocaya says 57 of the cases are still under investigation while 25 have gone to court for prosecution. She says another five were lost due to lack of interest from the complainants.
According to Ocaya, the cases are dragging for long due to logistical challenges.
Nodding Syndrome has affected at least 1,629 children under the age of 15 since it was detected in Northern Uganda in 2009. Another 727 have been found to have Epilepsy which many parents confuse for nodding syndrome in the region.
Alfred Akena, the Pader district Chairperson, says children suffering from nodding syndrome registered remarkable improvements after they joined government supplied treatment and food diets.
In July, scientists at the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) laboratory in Atlanta found crystal-like substances in portions of the nodding disease victim's brains. The discovery has scientists encouraged they may be closer to fully understand the mystery illness and its origin.