The increasing number of street children in Moroto town is posing a security threat to the business community with some complaining about theft and harassment.
The children numbering close to 200 are concentrated in labourline in south division and around Lopeduru market. The minors aged between 7 to 15 years are demanding help from the vendors at Moroto central market and shout vulgarity towards those who don’t give them money and sometimes even steal food items.
URN has established that many of these street children hail from the Moroto suburbs and some of them are sent by their parents who are troubled by poverty. Lucy Nakiru, a fresh food vendor at Moroto central market says that these children walk in groups of five to eight patrolling around the market.
Nakiru says that the street kids have started burglary and open defecation around the market premises since there are no security guards.
Salim Wambede, the chairperson of the vendors say the street children are causing havoc in the market and he appeals to the municipal council to expedite the recruitment of law enforcers to help contain the situation.
The children are often seen at the market play. As a result, they have caused the destruction of vital facilities like lighting system and glasses in the premises.
The Mayor of Moroto Municipality, Ismail Mohammed says they lack law enforcement officers to control the situation.
“These children come from our communities and there’s a need to engage parents and leaders to see how to address the matter, don’t throw your blame on the leaders because why do you produce children and put them on the streets?’’ Mohammed lamented.
He reiterated the need to apprehend parents whose children are loitering in the streets.
In November 2021, vandalism was reported at the main market, which prompted the deployment of police. In early March 2022, traders started occupying the market making it accessible to everyone.