Girl,12 Rescued from Marrying Man, 70, in Garissa

August 10, 2022

A twelve-year-old brave girl in Garissa, Kenya, has been rescued after attempts to wed her off to an old man aged seventy proved futile.

It all began two months back when her family revealed the news to her about her elder brother’s upcoming wedding ceremony. Amira was elated, to say the least.

At the time, her family began preparations for the big day. They started getting ready to travel to Garissa town, a Kenyan town adjacent to Somalia.

Amira was excited and she, too, began the preparations for her brother’s big day. For instance, she bought a new dress and decorated her hands with henna. Besides, she was anticipating consuming a lot of food on the actual day of the ceremony. This was huge to her as it would give her moments off the unending pangs of drought, hunger, and starvation in Northern Kenya.

However, unbeknownst to poor Amira, her brother’s wedding was actually a plot for her own. Apparently, her uncle had planned to marry her off to an old seventy-year-old man. The uncle would then receive heads of cattle as dowry in exchange for her.

Poor Amira lost her mother to Cancer in 2021. This blow left Amira at the mercy of her father who had two other elder children to cater to. The agreement was that her father would take care of the cattle while her uncle would take care of her siblings and her.

On the fateful day, Amira boarded a bus with one of her relatives to head to her brother’s wedding. However, shortly after, her uncle made stressful calls which then revealed to her that the said wedding was actually hers. She cried from the betrayal but her relative did not sound concerned.

Amira knew that she was helpless and could not imagine her dreams getting shattered by those she trusted the most. Luckily, once they alighted at the bus stop, her stepbrother interrupted and stopped the wedding from going on. Amira was then taken to a children’s rescue center and is lucky to have escaped the ordeal.

Sadly, not all such cases end positively as they did for Amira. Recent data by UNICEF show that one in every four Kenyan girls gets married off before reaching eighteen years old. Cases of forced child abuse in the form of early marriages and sexual abuse are rampant in Garissa, Tana River, Baringo, and West Pokot counties in Kenya. Yet, the law in Kenya prohibits child marriage but many unreported cases happen.

This is a call to keep children safe by intercepting and reporting when you witness or hear of cases of child abuse like child marriages.

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