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16 girls retrieved from marriages

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SIXTEEN girls have been retrieved from marriages in Chipata and parents ordered to pay a cow or make eight thousand bricks.
This following a resolution by the Zingalume by-laws on ending child marriage steering committee in the district.
By-laws steering committee secretary Induna Zingalume confirmed the development in an interview.
He said teachers from various schools decided to blow the whistle after noticing that girls as young as 12 years had stopped attending classes and later discovered they were married off.
The Induna said he had received reports of teachers being threatened for disclosing information of children who were married off by culprit parents.
He noted that teachers who reported child marriage cases were living in fear following frightening remarks from parents who were planning to bewitch them once the rainy season start.
“These parents are not happy with the teachers and the committee for not allowing them to marry off the young girls. They are also angry because of the penalties given to them for not abiding by the set by-laws of not marrying off young girls,” Induna Zingalume explained.
Induna Zingalume said the by-laws steering committee was not intimidated for retrieving the 16 girls from early marriages.
He said the committee recorded 30 teenage pregnancies during its recent head count, while 49 school girls had delivered and were expected back to school after six months.
“We are working as a committee to adequately ensure that no young girl below 20 years of age in the chiefdom are married off,” he said.
When contacted for a comment, the teachers directed all matters to the Provincial Education Officer.
. – ZANIS.