The mother of an 11 year old girl, who was reportedly raped and killed about nine months ago, has resolved to go on a hunger strike in Saclepea City, Nimba County. The woman has meanwhile called on the government and its partners to intervene on her behalf to institute a speedy investigation of those held in connection with the act.
In January this year, an 11 year old was allegedly gang-raped in Bouh Town, a small settlement north of Saclepea when she had gone to fetch water.
Ms. Yar Mamie Luogon, mother of the deceased said, since the incident, the remains of her daughter have been deposited at the Heaven Gate Funeral Home in Saclepea, while investigation and subsequent burial arrangements were pending.
“We are not getting any redress from the local and even the security authorities since my daughter was abused and killed,” Ms. Luogon said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Until we the family can get justice, I will go on a hunger strike (not to eat) to ensure that the case is thoroughly investigated, and that my daughter is given a befitting burial,” she added.
Due to the delay in removing the body from the funeral home, the bill has risen to US$14, 000, and further, the funeral home is demanding the full payment of the money before the body is released to the family or to any authority.
“We are calling the attention of the government, and the international community to pay the funeral bill of $14, 000 to ensure a dignified burial of our child,” she said.
Due to rising tension, the situation has claimed the attention of virtually all residents, specifically representatives of some civil society organizations and women’s group, who have promised immediate action.
A local-based nongovernmental organization (NGO), the Community Health Education and Social Services (CHESS), has stepped in the case promising to provide ‘free legal services’ to the victim’s family.
The head of CHESS, J. Alexander Nyahn Jr., has meanwhile launched a formal report to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under its Rule of Law Project in regard to the alleged rape incident.
The 11-year old lass was allegedly raped and subsequently killed by a 71-year old man since January 14, 2019 in Bouh Town, about 7 kilometers north of Saclepea.
“Due to our engagements with the Nimba County authorities, including the County Attorney, the girl’s case is scheduled for the November Term of Court,” said Mr. Nyahn.
As it stands, it appears as though prosecutors are yet to make an attempt to bring the perpetrator(s) of the act to justice, “because on Friday, October 18, 2019, the case was not placed on the court’s docket for trial.”
Nyan said his organization is facing some challenges, regarding the payment of the funeral bill, something he observed the government is showing no intent to intervene.
“The Court has authorized the burial, but the funeral home management is holding onto the body until their bill is settled,” he said.
On Thursday, October 24, 2019, the Daily Observer, though its Nimba Bureau, placed a series of phone calls to Nimba County Attorney. the first call was placed at about 11:00 a.m. and the other was at 4:00 p.m., but his phone rang endlessly without any response up to press time last night.t
In a related development, a Community Health Education and Social Services (CHESS) field agent, Bill Zarwea, has reported that an 18 year woman was recently killed in Tanwea Town, near Buutuo headquarters, just a stone throw from the Liberian/Ivorian border, allegedly by a ‘Country Devil,’ otherwise known as ‘mask dancer.’
According to eyewitness accounts “Immediately after the ‘Country Devil’ hit the woman in her stomach with a stick, she fell unconscious, and was rushed to the Buutuo Clinic where nurses on shift pronounced her dead on arrival.
Zarwea reported that the devil severely beat the woman after she attempted fleeing from his wrath but her effort did not help as the men around the devil reportedly held her to the ground.
He said the woman was returning from the Buutuo market, but while entering the Tanwea Town, the devil was reportedly “performing rituals” and so every non member, particularly women fled in several directions in the bush to avoid coming into contact with the devil, but his attendants caught her and allegedly flogged her in the process.
The deceased was reportedly one month pregnant when the incident occurred.
Meanwhile, our investigation continues.