Respond fast to protect children from killers

Friday, July 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
20 year old Fenny Aoko who is a parent of Henry Jackton who went missing on June 11. His body discovered at a vehicle towed at Athi River Police Station on Wednesday. Photo/PD/CHRISTINE AOKO

The appalling discovery of bodies of two children stuffed in the boot of a car at the Athi River police station on Wednesday has sent shock waves across the country.

A boy and a girl aged four and three years, respectively, the children had been missing since June 11.

Frantic efforts by their parents to trace them had yielded nothing until the discovery of their bodies by the vehicle’s owner, right inside the police station.

That the killers could summon the courage to dump the bodies in a vehicle parked inside a police station, of all places, is baffling.

Coming days after the Naivasha incident where a mother killed her four children by poisoning and strangling them, the rising cases of child murders should trigger alarm bells among Kenyans and jolt authorities to urgent action.

Just like the Athi River case, the Naivasha victims who were aged between two and seven years, were innocent, vulnerable and helpless. 

The alleged confessed killer in the Naivasha case, is reported to have blamed frustrations ranging from unemployment to marital issues for her gruesome actions.  

She had, according to her brother, lost her job as a part time teacher following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which left her unable to settle a Sh1,400 electricity bill.

That as many as 12 children (as reported elsewhere in this edition) have been murdered in cold blood in various parts of the country between May and June must awaken Kenyans to a disturbing trend that may spiral out of control if not addressed immediately.

A child rights organisation says in a report that it is currently handling 83 cases of children who have been reported missing in various parts of the country since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisation attributes the trend to prolonged closure of schools, joblessness and other societal problems.

Erosion of age-old societal values where children belonged to the community as opposed to the immediate family only, is a factor  onlyin the past tense.

While authorities in the criminal justice system must move fast to arrest the murders and disappearances of innocent children, it is incumbent upon parents, and society at large to assume greater responsibility for the safety of children, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic period. 

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