Mbarara city police, in collaboration with the city council probation office, are taking concerted steps to address the growing issue of street kids who have become a security concern for city residents. These street children have been reportedly involved in criminal activities, including waylaying people returning from ATMs, taxi, and bus parks at night.
In recent years, urbanization in Uganda has been accompanied by a rise in crime, particularly in growing cities like Mbarara. The influx of street children is posing policing challenges, and the situation is becoming a significant worry for both city authorities and residents, who see them as a security threat.
Henry Mushabe, the senior probation officer for Mbarara city, expressed concerns about reports that some older street boys are ambushing people near banks at night.
According to Samson Kasasira, the Police spokesperson for the Rwizi region, a recent operation resulted in the arrest of approximately 94 children, with 39 of them being above 18 years old. Further screening is underway. Some of these street children are observed to be experiencing mental instability, often seen clutching plastic bottles.
Dr. Denis Besigye, a senior health worker, suggests that establishing a school for these children, with the support of the government and the city council, could significantly improve their lives.
High Street, Buremba Road near Fresco Supermarket, the taxi and bus park, and the area around River Rwizi at Katete Bridge are key locations where these street kids gather both during the day and night, with the latter being a significant security concern for local residents. City authorities and police are now determined to address this issue and find appropriate solutions.