Rwanda National Police (RNP) has warned against tendencies of child abuse and for taking matters of justice in their own hands, which also amounts to a crime.
The warning stems from an incident when a man was arrested on Sunday for allegedly taking hostage and torturing three children apparently accusing them of stealing his money amounting to Rwf27, 500.
Emmanuel Gashema, 39, was arrested in Nyarugenge District on Sunday morning.
He allegedly took hostage of the three victims aged 9, 10 and 14 years on Saturday night accusing them of stealing his money and a bag and hauled them in the boot of his car to Kigali from their village in Nzige, Rwamagana District.
Police spokesperson for the City of Kigali, Supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu said that Gashema, in the night of Saturday, after torturing the children, took them to Rwampala health centre in Nyarugenge where he left them with the security guard.
“He didn’t return and the security guard decided to contact the medical staff who attended to the children; the medical staff in turn reported the matter to police and Gashema was arrested the following morning as he came back to check on the children,” Supt. Hitayezu said.
“The parents of the children have been located and notified of their safety although the children have since been transferred to Kacyiru District Hospital for further medical check up to profile a detailed report before forwarding it to prosecution to facilitate the judicial process against the suspect,” he explained.
The suspect is said to have assaulted the children, who were found with bruises around their body.
Article 217 of the penal code defines a child as “every human being aged under 18 years unless otherwise provided by other laws.”
In article 218, inflicting severe suffering on a child, harassing or imposing severe punishments or degrading him or her, attracts a prison term of six months to two years and a fine of Rwf100, 000 to Rwf300, 000.
Supt. Hitayezu condemned the act and called for the general effort to fight all sorts of child abuse.
“Regardless of someone committing an illegal act against you, you hold no power to take matters in your own hands, that makes you a suspected criminal as well; that’s why the justice system was put in place to professionally handle the public’s concerns,” Supt. Hitayezu said.
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