By Matia Samuel Timatio
Police authorities in Yambio County of Western Equatoria State are holding 13 underage girls who deserted their parental homes and joined gangsters’ groups in Yambio town practicing drug abuse.
The teenage girls who left their fathers’ houses joined gangsters groups indulging in drinking alcohol, smoking opium, taking a drug called tramadol among others drugs.
Albino Utho Mariano the Western Equatoria State police commissioner confirmed to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that some parents in Yambio County reported their daughters missing at home which made the police to launch operations in search of the girls.
“The police in Yambio got those young girls from the bush in a place called Gangara Emilia of Yambio County. They are about 15 years downwards. They were out of their parent’s homes and their mothers reported their absence to the police office and the CID tried to find out and they were got with some group of boys called the niggers and they were brought to the police. Their families will be called to come and collect them and the Minster of Gender to look into the problem of those young girls.” Albino said.
He said the teenage girls are currently under the police protection in the police compound but not in the custody adding that the police will continue working to collect more from the town.
“We had to collect the young girls from the bad groups to hand them to their families in front of the State governor because they can be destroyed by those old men they are mixed up with they might not get conceived in future. Those gang boys recruit the underage girls in to their groups to be taking alcohol, opium, and the dangerous drugs which are not good for them” the commissioner explained.
The commissioner however did not reveal whether the girls are from Yambio or they came from the different counties of the state.
Meanwhile the State minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Aningunde Cicilia said some girls putting on bad dressing code like mini-skirts which are very short attracting men to rape them were warned to stop dressing on short skirts.
She said those girls were also earlier warned to stop loitering around the market in the evening hours.
The Minister attributed the cause of the bad behaviors amongst the young girls and boys to what she called “Community trauma”.
“What I can say about this issue is that our community is under trauma because all the time there is no stability in the state or in the Country. These kinds of things are happening because different groups of people have come from different countries. There is high rate of poverty and people are not only working for their interests” Cicilia stressed.
She called on the government to implement the laws which will prevent such scenarios from happening while also urging the parents to report any kind of abuses against children in the communities to the local leaders in the community.
In many cases Reports had it that teenage girls are married off or impregnated in South Sudan at early ages.
Poverty has been identified as the main reason forcing children into marriages with the hope of getting better living.
In 2020 SPIDO – advocacy organization – said alarming cases of early child marriages, pregnancies, and prostitution mainly in Eastern, Central, and Western Equatoria States were on record high.