Police in Rusizi district has foiled a sinister deal in which parents had planned to force their sixteen year old daughter into marriage contrary to the legal age of 21.
The incidence happened on Thursday at Kamashangi, Kamembe sector. The underage girl who was also a college student in form one had rejected her parents’ idea of handing her over to a Kenyan man for marriage.
On learning that dowry had been collected from the bride, residents reported the matter to authorities in Kamashangi cell, Kamembe sector before the parents in question were arrested.
Maulidi Habimana and wife Amina Nikuze are currently held at Kamembe Police station.
“I was against the idea of marrying off our daughter at first but my wife kept pressing and I accepted. The husband to-be had brought hoes and Jerry cans, of which we are ready to return now that the marriage is no more,” says Habimana.
Nikuze, the girl’s mother declined to say anything to KT Press, residents say that she was in full support of the marriage, suspecting that she had received Rwf400, 000 dowry.
“My daughter had refused the marriage, saying she wants to continue with education,” Habimana adds.
Kamashangi cell administration says the girl’s parents were about to marry her off to a Kenyan husband because of money, since she still wanted to stay near them.
“We summoned them at the cell offices and they admitted to have collected dowry inform of Jerry cans and hoes and money. The suspects have agreed to return the dowry to the Kenyan man,” says Eugenie Irankunda, Cell leader.
“The girl had never met the man, it was just hunger for money,” He adds.
Research by gender experts indicates that forced marriages are still thriving especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Rwanda.
According to a 2014 UNICEF report, at least seven hundred million girls under the age of eighteen, mainly from sub-Saharan countries, face a threat of being forced into early marriage.
Cases of forced marriages in Rwanda, especially in rural areas are mainly caused by poverty in households.