Police in Kisumu County, on Sunday, February 14, stormed a wedding and rescued a 17-year old girl who was set to get married to a man said to be her boyfriend.
Reports indicated that the wedding was set to take place at a famous mosque in Kisumu County. The minor who is a Form 4 candidate at Kudho secondary school was taken for medical tests after the rescue as the boyfriend, accompanied by police, proceeded to Obunga police station.
Ms Atieno, close to the young girl’s family, narrated the events to the media. She stated that the girl grew up as an orphan after her mother succumbed to illness while she was still a toddler.
It was then that her relatives appealed to well-wishers to help with her education and fortunately, a well wisher from Netherlands took her in, and paid for her education and basic needs.
According to Atieno the minor’s behavior changed during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic when all students were on a nine month hiatus from school.
“We began spotting her with this young man during school hours. I’d try to advise her on numerous occasions, but she wouldn’t take heed.
Atieno also recalled confronting the young man, but claimed that the two were just friends. The peculiar behaviour exuded by the two led to investigations by the neighbors who came to learn that the two actually lived together in the boyfriend’s house.
“We found out that the young girl was planning to get married to the boyfriend on Sunday at around 2 p.m,” Atieno stated.
The neighbors reported the matter at Obunga police station and informed village elders in an attempt to stop the wedding ceremony.
Child marriages have been a worrying concern in Kenya especially in the North Rift regions where young girls are married off at a young age.
According to a report by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 23% of Kenyan girls are married before their 18th birthday and 4% are married before the age of 15. In the case of the male gender, 3% of boys in Kenya are married before the age of 18.