* Police to help train women to use weapon
* Minister says scheme will save lives
By Barry Malone
KAMPALA, June 13 (Reuters) - Uganda will give free pepper spray to young women to help them fight off rapists, said newly appointed junior minister for youth and children Ronald Kibule, who has vowed to fight a high sex-crime rate.
Police say sexual assaults on children and rape are two of the most prevalent crimes in the east African country. Human Rights group Amnesty International has called sexual violence "endemic" in the East African country.
Some 709 rape cases and 7,564 cases of defilement against children were reported in 2010, police say, though experts say many more go unreported.
Kibule said the spray would be given to girls from the ages of 15 to 18 to protect them from "defilement" and to women between 18 and 30 to stave off rape.
A police spokeswoman said the force would help the government train women in how to use the weapon. (Editing by Richard Lough)