The 12-year-old girl must marry two men aged 51 and 35 within a month before being rescued in Kenya
- Youngster was married off in Narok County, about 70 miles west of Nairobi
- Just two weeks later, she married the second 35-year-old man to escape the first
- Father married the girl for a dowry of four cows ‘because he was hungry’
- The local charity chief said it is likely that the coronavirus closure and poverty were the driving forces behind the marriages
A girl had to marry two older men – aged 51 and 35 – within a month before being rescued in Kenya.
Her father, who belongs to the Maasai tribe of Narok County, about 70 miles west of Nairobi, is now being searched by the police.
The girl said her father had married off both of her sisters ‘by force’ and wanted the same for her, after her prospective 51-year-old husband offered him a dowry of four cows to have her as a second wife.
He decided it was the perfect time for a wedding when schools were closed due to coronavirus blockage, she said.
After declining the offer and telling her father that she wanted to continue her studies, she was beaten by her cousins who accused her of dishonoring the family.
Girls are born so people can eat. I just want to get my dowry, ”the father reportedly told her.
The girl said her father had married off both of her sisters ‘by force’ and wanted the same for her, after her future 51-year-old husband offered him a dowry of four cows to have her as the second wife in Kenya.
She was married to the older man, but escaped two weeks later.
The youngster told the Kenyan Standard newspaper she was forced to “leave” with a 35-year-old man who was already married to escape the older husband.
Her father tracked her down and dragged her back to the man.
A children’s rights group learned of her situation after being tipped while rescuing another child.
Narok Peace Ambassador Joshua Kaputa, who saved the youngster and is now her guardian, said the father and two husbands have gone into hiding.
He added that poverty and school closures due to coronavirus blockage contribute to recently observed increases in child marriage cases.
Narok Peace Ambassador Joshua Kaputa, who saved the youngster and is now her guardian, said the father and two husbands have gone into hiding. “Some families are hungry, and the prospect of receiving two or three cows as a dowry is very tempting,” he said. Pictured: a cow in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in June this year
“Some families are hungry and the prospect of receiving two or three cows as a dowry is quite tempting,” he told the BBC.
Child marriages are illegal in Kenya, with a marriage age of 18. Each of the male parties in the case could be locked up for five years and fined up to one million Keynan shilling (£ 8,000).
Despite laws prohibiting the marriage of children, 23 percent of Kenyan girls are still married before their 18th birthday, and four percent before they are 15.
Child Marriage NGO Girls Not Brides says the driving force behind the crime has been divided into poverty, poor education, adolescent pregnancy, and traditional practices.
Young girls are often seen as a commodity that can be traded.