Nov. 30 observed as ‘Little Angel Tokpah Day’
The death of Angel Tokpah has not been forgotten by a group of girls on Johnson Street, Monrovia, who are planning to commemorate it as ‘Little Angel Tokpah Day.’
Angel Tokpa died on Nov. 30, 2007.
The children under the banner, ‘Girls’ Alliance for Future Leadership,’ have set November 30 to reflect on how Angel Tokpah met her untimely death.
In an interview yesterday, the advocacy officer and acting secretary general for the group, Faith Saar, said the manner in which Angel Tokpah was allegedly murdered should not be forgotten and that parents need to be careful who serves as guardians of their children.
She indicated that as part of activities for the commemoration, they have informed other children about the history of Tokpah’s death, and how they (adolescent girls) need to conduct themselves to avoid her experience.
November 30, 2007, was a dark day for 13-year old Madiah Angel, who weighing 38 kg and was 150 cm tall. She was found hanging from a belt in the bathroom of her guardians, identified as Hans Williams and Mardea Paykue, on the Old Road, Sinkor at 7:30 PM.
Just before her lifeless body was submitted for examination, members of the Liberia National Police issued a statement saying that she committed suicide, which corroborated her guardian Hans Williams’ earlier claim.
It was reported that Tokpah met her untimely death when it was discovered that she was in a sexual relationship with her guardian, Hans Williams, who was later jailed along with his wife Mardea Paykue, but were later released after the case was reviewed and evidence reportedly did not match the crime.
The incident generated widespread interest and anxiety as many parents began to worry about the safety of their girl children in a society where many unscrupulous men don’t see it as a crime to take sexual advantage of young girls and even abusing them.
However, police reports and later an autopsy by a Ghanaian pathologist concluded that Angel committed suicide. This was widely rejected by Liberian mothers, after youth groups and human rights organizations challenged the police report.
Meanwhile, many people raised further issues about Angel’s death when another autopsy report conducted by pathologist, Anthony S. Quaye, raised more questions than answers. Events surrounding Angel’s death shook every Liberian household and subsequently, advocates campaigned for an increase in sentencing for convicted rapists.
In the interview with the Daily Observer, Miss Saar, 17, warned men not to treat girls as full grown women, but as they would treat their own children, adding that men should encourage young girls to pursue their education instead of sexually abusing them.
She explained that many girls are impregnated by men who are old enough to be their fathers, which she said is always painful for her to see.
“When you visit any hospital these days, many of those you see on hospital beds with pregnancies, the majority are girls in the age range of 18 and below,” she lamented.