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Ivorian refugees charged with rape

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The Bahn Magisterial Court in Zoe-Geh District #7, Nimba County, has charged a 48-year-old Ivorian refugee with rape. According to court records, suspect Zaruwon Nioule invited the six-year-old victim at his Bahn refugee camp where he allegedly raped her.

This paper also gathered that both suspect and victim are refugees residing in the camp, but the alleged perpetrator asked the minor to fetch water for him when he carried out the act.

Zaruwon Nioule has been sent to Sanniquellie Center Prison, await trial. Recently, the Executive Director for the Liberia Refugees, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) Abla G.Williams, visited the Bahn refugee camp during celebration of World Refugee Day and urged the refugees to be peaceful and law abiding.

But it seems like Madam Williams’ appeal was not heeded as evidenced by the latest development. Meanwhile, over 80,000 pupils from both public and private schools across Nimba County are refusing to remain in school until July 31, 2015, the official date for closure school as announced by the Ministry of Education.

A tour by The NewDawn Nimba correspondent of some school campuses in the county saw those campuses virtually empty except for few teachers, who were waiting for the school time to be over to leave for their respective homes.

Some of the students, who spoke to our correspondent expressed frustration over decision by the Ministry of Education to announce the abrupt closure of school by July 31 without promotion, particularly for 12th and 9th graders.

The aggrieved students complained that most of them had already paid full tuition for the academic period, which started on February 16th and are therefore unhappy about the abrupt closure. But Education Minister George Werner has argued that the current academic year, which should have run from February to August or September does not provide ample time to prepare students adequately for promotion to the next class, particularly 12th and 9th graders who are the write the annual exams administers by the West African Examination Council or WAEC. 

Minister Werner said the abrupt closure is necessary to allow the ministry effect vigorous reforms in the educational sector, including provision of requisite textbooks, laboratories, libraries and curriculum as well as training for teachers and school administrators.

The Education Ministry has accordingly set the next academic period for September 7, 2015 to July, 2016 Our correspondent said students, who have abandoned classes are in the streets involved with social activities rather than prioritizing their studies, while other others are demanding school administrators to reform fees already paid, including fees for the WAEC.

When contracted, County Education Officer or CEO Wleh T. Saileh, confirmed the situation, but said some of the schools faced with this problem had already completed the third marking period or the first semester so the students are free to be out of school, though the Education Ministry has announced formal closure of schools across Liberia for July 31. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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