Harsh penalties await two health facilities, if found guilty in the ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Justice, of their alleged role in the death of Musu Fofana, 12, who was raped and subsequently died after she was denied treatment by those medical centers.
Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh has also indicated that officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) who allegedly detained at a check-point in Monrovia the vehicle that was carrying Musu to a third health center to get treatment, are also being thoroughly investigated and will be severely penalized if found guilty of contributing to her death.
Musu died on Sunday January 18, after being raped in the Moulton Corner community in Brewerville allegedly by a known community resident, Musa Kanneh, 49, who is currently in police custody.
According to reports, she was raped about 8 p.m. and died four hours after enduring excruciating pain and being denied admission by two medical centers.
After being denied treatment by the two health facilities, family members were taking her to the John F. Kennedy hospital when some LNP officers allegedly detained them at a checkpoint, and sent them back to Brewerville. She died that same evening.
Minister Sannoh disclosed that MOJ is conducting a comprehensive investigation on the Redemption Hospital and Faith Clinic as well as on police officers who reportedly detained the vehicle, for their roles in the young girl’s death.
The Justice Minister announced the actions being taken in the late Musu Fofana rape case during the launch of an advocacy group, Concerned Women of Liberia (CWL) on Saturday. CWL consists of six Liberian women who have embarked on an extensive campaign to curtail the rising number of rape cases in the country.
He said the MOJ had embarked on the investigation following complaints raised by the victim’s family members and others that the two hospitals had denied the late Musu Fofana treatment.
Minister Sannoh also noted that ordinary Liberians have begun to appreciate the magnitude of the problem of rape in the country and have begun to get involved in measures to eradicate the menace from the society.
Government alone cannot take on this huge task as rape has now become a societal problem. Obviously, actions from ordinary citizens like CWL will be of great help.
“These women have put themselves together to support prosecution of rape perpetrators and this is indeed laudable because this is a societal problem that we all need to tackle together,” he stressed.
Liberia has a deterrent rape law enacted a few years ago which the government wants to enforce, but the frustrating part is that many Liberians are criticizing the law saying it is too harsh and is against the Constitution, said the Minister.
He wondered whether rape is a cultural issue in Liberia, noting that if it is, Liberians need to meet that challenge, and ensure that it is eradicated.
In his remarks, Vice President Joseph Boakai said rape is not just a disgrace to Liberia, but hampers its development. He noted that rape is a shame and Liberians must do all they can to get rid of it.
He lauded the men who attended the occasion to support the women for standing up against the cruel and criminal act of rape.
The event, which was held at the Barrack Young Controllers field in the PHP community, was also marked by a Charity Kickball match.