Ugandan police beat, abuse homeless children living on the streets, charges Human Rights Watch

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Human Rights Watch says homeless children in Uganda's urban centers face violence including sexual abuse at the hands of police and local officials.

The rights group said in a report released Thursday that Ugandan authorities have failed to protect street children from police and other officials who beat and extort money from them.

It said homeless children have been arbitrarily detained with adults in police cells after "targeted roundups."

Homeless children are ubiquitous on the streets of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where they are known to beg from motorists. Many are young girls, some with babies on their backs.

A police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, said the allegations are "totally not true." He said only "violent and wild" children below 18 are arrested and taken to remand homes.