Hundreds of women took to the streets in the Liberian capital, Monrovia on Wednesday December 9, carrying images of child victims, some raped and murdered, as they demanded justice for the innocent souls whose lives here were cut short.
The protesters led by a local women group, Women in Peace-building Network or WIPNET began their protest march from the Fish Market near the President’s residence before setting up road blocks at the intersections of the Tubman boulevard, a major route connecting the outskirt of the capital to the central town and 9th Street in Sinkor, just few meters away from the Justice Ministry for hours amidst huge traffic jammed.
The women demonstration comes on the heels of the 16- Days of Activisms against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, which end today, December 10. A total of 1088 have been raped here in this year alone with some death reported among them. Out of this number 293 are children. Out of total of 1088 rape cases, 588 occurred in Montserrado alone, with Rivercess County recording the least at 3.
The women said they were demonstrating to demand justice for the children who have been raped and murdered as police remain tight-lipped on some of these cases.
However, among the images of victims which were paraded by the protesters was Musu, a little girl who was reportedly gang-raped in Brewerville outside Monrovia before being brutally beaten with what appears to be a wooden object and died on her way to a hospital, after being rejected by the nearest one.
Another victim whose image was held up high is Bendu Saysay, a 21-year-old female who died in Police holding cell along the Banjor road in Virginia, outside Monrovia.
Police claimed the late Bendu hung herself in the station’s holding cell despite an initial appeal by the girl’s mother to take custody of her daughter and bring her back the next morning for fear that she would have been harmed at the station the night before.
Police claimed they found her hanging in the cell the following morning with a lapper (a wrap around) around her neck and was quickly rushed to the Redemption Hospital where police say she died, before they could inform her mother hours later.
The wailing mother has since demanded the autopsy report of her late daughter, suspecting that she was raped in the cell before being murdered. But the police have since failed to produce the report, while the girl’s lifeless body lies in the mortuary open as it decays due to the lack of freezers and electricity.
WIPNET Program Assistant Madam Cecelia P. Danuweli speaking to the New Dawn alleged that not only did the police take the body of Musu to the hospital before informing her mother about her death, but they also took her to the mortuary and left her lying there decaying, why the mother continue to cry for the autopsy report.
“They took the body to the mortuary and left the girl’s body open on the table,” Madam Danuweli said. “Why is it that the evidence which could have indicated that actual cause of death is being destroy, ” she quipped adding “because the (girl) body is decaying.”
She backtracked a little saying the condition at the mortally annexed at the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital is appalling, adding that it is being run by a private funeral home-Samuel Striker. She said there are bodies lying all over the place decaying and are not in freezers.
However, the women removed their rood blocks after Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh and Solicitor General Betty Lamin promised to make public the autopsy report of Bendu
by Thursday December 10.
The Justice officials said the delay in the autopsy report is due to the fact that there are no pathologists in the country and every time there is a need for a text of such nature, they have to bring a pathologist from abroad.
However, they said government is currently sponsoring three individuals abroad who are studying to become pathologists.
By Othello B. Garblah