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giovedì 29 gennaio 2015

Liberia: The Issue of the Raping to Death of 12-Year-Old Child

The Liberian president has demanded a comprehensive probe into the rape and subsequently death of a 12-year-old-girl.

Probe into circumstances leading to the death of 12-year old rape victim Ma Musu Fofana will certainly go beyond the alleged rape perpetrator Musa Kanneh, 45, as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wants investigators to identify all of "the different people" who played some roles.

This could suggest that a wide range of investigation demanded by the President may include the Redemption Hospital which, according to Fatu, failed to treat or at least give First Aid to the profusely bleeding victim, Ma Musu while under emergency; and probably, police officers who may not have acted promptly to save the dying girl.

President Sirleaf has instructed the police to do their job "very quickly" and make a report available for the necessary actions to be taken, as sorrow and anger could be sensed from her facial expression, having listened to the horrible story narrated by the victim's mother, Fatu Morris.

During a visit to the home of the victim's parents in Brewerville, outside Monrovia last Friday, January 23, 2015, President Sirleaf challenged the Ministry of Justice to do proper investigation, with the expectation that the victim's mother will be invited to explain what happened, as well as identify the different people for their roles.

During the visit, Madam Fatu Morris narrated that following the rape incident, she and her husband drove suspect Musa Kanneh, along with victim Musu to the Zone Six Police Depot where an officer gave them a contact number on their way to the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.

But the number failed to ring when a doctor at Redemption tried calling it, following which the doctor subsequently told them the hospital could do nothing about the victim who was profusely bleeding.

According to her, when the girl could not be attended to, they returned with the victim to Zone Six in order to have a police accompany them because it was curfew hour already; but she further claimed that the Zone Six Commander, Blama Yancy only promised to follow them to the Faith Clinic where the victim began convulsing.

When it became clear that the Clinic could not handle the case, they were advised by Commander Yancy to go to the JFK in Sinkor, after which he would follow, but failed to do so this time.

She indicated that they finally encountered officers on duty at the police gate upon approaching the Central Headquarters on the Capital Bye-pass, and while facing inquiry as papers were being demanded, the number provided by officers at Zone Six could not ring.

It was at this juncture, she said, one of the officers pointed a torch light at the rape victim and observed that she had already died.

"The only thing I can promise you is that whoever, whoever had part to play, they will pay heavy price. That's the only thing I can promise you. But let's wait until the police finish doing their work, then we will see what's what," President Sirleaf vowed.

Earlier, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell, told the President on Friday that the victim's DNA was being done, and a pathologist was in- country to conduct the autopsy.

Representative Darkel had said the House's Plenary has constituted a committee to gather some facts because they were concerned as to why at Redemption Hospital there was a delay to take the child in.

Beyond that, he told President Sirleaf about a related rape incident wherein, he said, a suspect named Isaac Johnson went in the room of another lady between 9am to 10am on Thursday, January 22, 2015 and attempted raping her eleven year old- daughter with his trousers already down.

He said the suspect has been taken to LNP Central Headquarters on Capitol Hill.

Rape Case Sparks Outrage THE NEW DAWN, 26 JANUARY 2015

In the Liberian parlance, whenever the phrase, "FOR NOTHING" is used, it simply means that "nothing concrete" would come out of what is being done or said. Additionally, it means that there would be public outcry to a particular evil in the society and no steps would be taken to correct or act against those responsible.

For this, whenever there are such public outcry and a probes are instituted, there is always lack of confidence by the people as they believe that such calls for probe are mere charade or show only to conciliate public or calm the story or bitterness over such particular happenings, like in the case of the raping to death of the 12-year old child by a 40-year old man in Brewerville. The alleged rapist, Musa Kanneh, is said to be a former officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

Since the report of the death of the child and subsequent revelations by the minister of Gender Julia Duncan-Cassell that there were more than 500 alleged rape cases last year, there have been concerns and calls for a serious probe on circumstances relating to the death of the child but it is said that following the raping of the child, she was rejected by several medical centers.

To add insult to injury, it is alleged that a particular police checkpoint in Monrovia denied access to the vehicle taking the child to another medical center for treatment on grounds that it was curfew time and that in addition; the driver was driving with slippers, which the police reportedly said was a traffic violation. Despite repeated appeals to those at the checkpoint, the police insisted that the vehicle would not go, for reasons cited. It is said that it took about 20 minutes before the vehicle was allowed access. Furthermore, it is said that by the time the vehicle reached the hospital, the girl was pronounced dead.

It is based on these circumstances involving the police and the medical centers that refused to treat the child that precipitated the numerous public outcries on circumstances leading to the death. The situation became so profound that President Sirleaf even visited the home of the girl's family in Moulton's Corner, Brewerville, at which time she ordered the Justice and Health Ministries to launch a full-scale investigation into the reported negligence of some elements of the Liberia National Police and Health care facilities in the death of the 12-year old girl.

President Sirleaf over the weekend visited the parents of the little girl and condemned the act. She described the action by the rapist as wicked, inhumane, devilish and enemy to the security of women and children of Liberia. The Liberian leader threatened that any functionary of the Liberian Government found culpable of negligence in the death of the child would be punished under the fullest weight of the law. Meanwhile, friends and relatives of the deceased blamed Brewerville Police and the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town for negligence in handling the case prior to the death of the child.

This is not the first time a probe has been ordered into such situation of public concern. Normally when such distasteful or obnoxious acts are committed, there are always clarion calls for probe, and then, nothing is heard about its outcome or action taken against those responsible.

Up to three-quarters of Liberian women suffered sexual violence during the country's 14-year civil war, in which self-appointed generals with names like "Bad Boy" and "Butt Naked" led armies of child soldiers high on marijuana and amphetamines to mutilate and rape as they fought.

Although the conflict ended in 2003, Liberia still has some of the highest incidences of sexual violence against women in the world, according to the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) think-tank.

It cited a 2013 study that found 26 percent of women and girls had been raped outside of marriage and 74 percent had suffered marital rape in northern Nimba county alone.

Liberia: War Long Over in Liberia, but Why Is There Still So Much Rape? 9 JUNE 2014


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