Police has issued fresh caution and warned of “legal action” to anyone, who will be caught serving alcoholic beverages to children.

The public are also reminded that child protection is a “collective responsibility” and urged to report all sorts of child abuse, including sexual, child labour and corporal punishment.

The fresh call follows Saturday night operatons in Rusizi District where children were found drinking alcohol in two bars located in Kamembe town.

The bars in question are Best friend and B13.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that Police and local leaders handed the children to their parents.

“The victims’ parents were located and educated on child rights and their responsibilities as parents to protect children before handing the children to them,” CIP Kayigi said.

He added: “Suspects will also face the law. The continuous operations falls in line with the implementation of the law on child protection, mainly focusing on bars, hotels and entertainment spots serving alcohol to minors; people who employ children to do domestic chores, rearing cattle, tea plantations, carrying goods in markets, mining and stone quarry.”

Article 27 of the law relating to the protection of a child states that, any person, who sells alcoholic beverages or tobacco to a child, causes or encourages a child to drink alcoholic beverages, to smoke or to go to bars commits an offence.

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months but not exceeding six months and a fine of between Rwf100, 000 and Rwf200, 000.

Drinking alcohol at an early age can reduce a child’s mental and physical abilities because the brain is still developing at the time.

Underage drinkers are also more likely to be exposed to other illicit drugs and the exposure may in the long-term cause them to commit other crimes.

CIP Kayigi reminded owners of all joints selling alcohol to always take a step to verify if they are suspicious of someone’s age.

The Express News

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