Liberia: Man in Gbarpolu Rapes Two Minors

The suspect, Anthony Nyemah.

Police in Gbarpolu County has arrested and forwarded to court a 27-year-old man for allegedly raping two minors, ages 4 and 6, in Belle Fasama, Belle District.

The suspect, Anthony Nyemah, according to Spoon TV report, sexually abused his victims in the absence of their mother, while she was away.

Suspect Nyemah is said to be a neighbor of the victims' mother who usually assisted with her domestic work. Though medical reports from two separate health facilities show the minors were violated, the suspect has denied the allegation. 

He is however said to be asking community dwellers to plead with the victims’ mother for forgiveness.

The alleged rape in Gbarpolu County comes just a few days after a 17-year old boy, Kwesi Johnson, was accused of raping a 3-year-old girl in the Soul Clinic Community.

Like Nyemah, Kwesi has denied the allegation and instead point the finger a the victim's uncle who he claimed has been sexually abusing her.

The report against Kwesi is that the grandmother of the victim discovered the trousers of the child soaked with blood minutes after she (grandmother) returned from the market.  

“When I asked her who did this to you, she said it was the neighbor’s son, Kwesi Johnson,” the grandmother said.

According to the medical report, the victim was lacerated six inches above her private part, running towards her anus.  However, the doctor disclosed that the tear did not reach the child's anus, or it would have been bad. 

The issue of rape in Liberia has been on the increase, despite thousands of Liberians protesting against the crime in 2020 in a bid to draw local and international attention to the country’s alarming rate of sexual assault.

Rape has been a long-standing concern and a United Nations report in 2016 recorded 803 rape cases the previous year and found only 2 percent of sexual violence cases led to a conviction. Harrowing tales of sexual violence against girls as young as three years old are nothing new.  It is an issue that is among the many crimes that are the result of the legacy of the country’s 14-year civil war between 1989 and 2003 when rape was com

Moreover, a heavily underfunded and weak judicial system and the culture of impunity continue to fan the rape epidemic. Alternative justice for rape victims in a highly traditional and patriarchal society includes traditional courts spearheaded by community leaders that have in most cases ruled in favor of offenders 

Incidents of rape appear to have risen sharply --forcing President George Manneh Weah in 2020 to declare it a national emergency and order new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike in the number of cases in the West African state. In that same year, Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network, said her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August. According to her, the number was up from between 80 and 100 cases in May.

But since then,  the President has done little to fulfill his pledge of having a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia, as well as set up a national sex offender registry.  And the government’s “national security task force” on sexual and gender-based violence is yet to succeed in terms of prosecution and conviction of the alleged perpetrators.

The Weah administration has purchased a DNA machine to fast-track the investigation and prosecution of rape cases, but since the machine arrived at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in 2021, it is yet to be used due to the lack of skilled medical professionals to operate it.