Tarime. A total of 43 cases of schoolgirl pregnancy has been reported at police posts within the special zone of police Tarime/Rorya from January to March, this year.
The coordinator of the Tarime/Rorya Police Gender Desk, Inspector Ahmad Feruzi, said the cases involved primary and secondary schoolgirls in the area.
He was speaking to The Citizen on Sunday, saying there was a possibility of the number of schoolgirls who were made pregnant to go up, this year.
According to Inspector Feruzi, this is a result of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) of last year’s season in the area from October to December.
He added that, according to the Kurya tribe, FGM was used as a step from childhood to adulthood. Due to that, police have managed to file 18 cases in courts.
However, he said one of the cases had reached its end after police won an appeal while other cases were still going on at various courts.
He said that police were facing difficulties when approaching such kind of cases, whereby he explained that community were ready to report such cases at police posts only if there was a disagreement between the responsible person and the family of the impregnated girl.
"We only receive such cases if the responsible person has not met the condition he is given by the girl's family and also if after such a case has been reported to police.
“If they agree on how to settle it at family level no one is ready to give us cooperation so automatically the case will be dropped," he explained.
He also added that he believed that unreported cases of school girl pregnancy in the area were many since the community tended to solve the issue at the family level, resulting in child marriage and early births.
Insp. Feruzi said that last year 60 cases were reported at police posts whereby 31 cases were brought to courts whilst eight of them ended and police won all of them.
Some residents of Tarime /Rorya asked the government and other stakeholders to put more efforts in the fight against the violation of the child’s rights, saying it was time the forgotten areas got interventions.
Mr Joachim Oloo, another resident, said more efforts were only made in Tarime area by activists, who forgot other parts of the region.
However, he said child marriage was becoming a huge problem in Shirati area.
"I am quite sure that even police have a record about child marriage and pregnancy in Shirati area. So, I ask activists to exert more pressure in that area so that we can rescue our school girls there" he insisted.