The police in Gulu report they are still holding about 120 suspects arrested in town during the Christmas season.

Emmanuel Mafundo, the Gulu District Police Commander said that arrests numbering 70 were made of the juveniles involved in snatching town dwellers’ properties like mobile phones and bags.

He said parents of the arrested children could be charged over irresponsibility. He urged non-governmental organizations religious organisations to support the children by counselling them. He has also urged the entire community to remain vigilant and ensure that children remain in homes.

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Late last year Gulu Mayor George Labeja said that the municipality had received several complaints of theft masterminded by the street children. He said that taking the children off the streets will not only improve safety for town dwellers, but will also get rid of the mess brought about by the presence of street children.

Labeja warned that parents whose children are found to be living on the streets will be arrested and charged with abuse of children’s rights.

Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa region police spokesperson said that some of the street children are from well- to-do families who either do not want to go to school or are driven by the desire to roam the streets.

Okema explained that police has been forced to release children detained in the past because it was working in isolation without the involvement of the municipality and the district to either facilitate prosecution or even trace their families.

Gulu has many orphans and vulnerable children, many of which are being kept by charity organizations and orphanages. At least 100 children still sleep and eat off the streets of Gulu town, seven years after peace returned to the region.

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