Three held over forced marriage of teen schoolgirl

Three people have been arrested for abducting a schoolgirl and forcing her into a marriage.
Image: 123RF/ canjoena

Three people have been arrested for abducting a schoolgirl and forcing her into a marriage.

They are the teen’s mother, 54, her sister, 22, and the “husband”, 28.

The Dispatch reported on Wednesday that the Grade 12 pupil, 19, was abducted in Dutywa last week and taken from Kinqashe village in Willowvale.

It appears to be a case of ukuthwala, the practice of forcing young girls into marriage.

Provincial police spokesperson colonel Sibongile Soci confirmed the arrests.

She said the three were arrested in Mvezo and Dutywa on Tuesday by the Butterworth police family violence & child protection unit.

“It is alleged that the 19-year-old girl received a phone call that she should meet her mother in Dutywa town on July 31,”  Soci said.

“While she was waiting for her mother, a car approached and stopped next to her. She was offered a lift by the occupants of the car.”

She said the car was driven to Mvezo village, to the home of the would-be husband.

“She was locked inside a house in the homestead but managed to escape on  August 1 and went back home.

“On August 6 her brother, her sister and her mother took her back to Mvezo village,” she said.

There the schoolgirl was informed that she was getting married, Soci said.

“She was again locked inside the house but managed to communicate with her friend telephonically and informed the friend she was being forced to marry.

“The friend immediately informed  Dutywa police and police followed up on the matter,” she said.

The accused are due to appear in the Dutywa magistrate’s court for a formal bail application on Friday. The brother will face the same charges when he is found and arrested.

Children’s rights activist Petros Majola said they wanted people to learn that forcing girls into marriage was wrong.

“As activists, we can’t lobby for the accused to get bail. This should be a lesson to people who still practise this.

“They must not get bail. Children should not be forced to leave school because of marriage,” he said.

By Ziyanda Zweni

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