Front Page Commentary by Prince C. Kamara
Sunday 21st June, 2020 shall forever go down the annals of Sierra Leone as the dark day when a five year old girl died after being brutally raped multiple times and her body violated in other ways when she was only months away to reuniting with her father in the USA.
It is understood that the culprit is thankfully now in police custody helping with investigations. It is no gainsaying the fact that this is not the first time a girl of such tender age has come under such attack in Sierra Leone. Records can prove that there have been girls as young as five months to less than five years that have been violated in similar vein.
But as is always the case; there is always a first time for anything under the sun. For example, a couple of months ago in Minneapolis, United States of America, one man was arrested, his throat trampled upon as he lay on the ground with hands handcuffed behind his back and whining: “I cannot breathe.” George Floyd as the world later came to know him, died on reaching hospital. Since that tragic and historic day, protests around the USA and in countries across the world have never ceased. The campaign “Black Lives Matter” is now on roller-coaster.
Kadija Saccoh means to Sierra Leone what George Floyd means to America. Of course, it is no secret that rape of underage girls in Sierra Leone is nothing new. It is a fact that the current government is primarily concerned with protecting our young girls from exploitation such as sexual abuse and rape. It is against this background that Sierra Leoneans are grateful that President Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio have already shown interest in handing down justice in this matter.
But the fact that Kadija Saccoh died of rape is the real issue here, the underlying factors which contributed to her violent death should also be seriously investigated.
It is understood that she suffered spinal injury, fractured wings, rape, manual strangulation, (asphyxiation), bitten tongue, vaginal and anal dilatation. To the layman, it would appear as though the late girl was not only raped but further subjected to brutal and violent treatment before her death.
To the average person, this all points to the fact that the perpetrator coldly and methodically planned and executed his malevolent and diabolic act. People with such sick behavior must not be allowed to live among decent people.
This is why political and social commentators are calling for total and unconditional punishment meted on the perpetrator (s).
Yesterday’s protest which started out pretty low scale and insignificant gradually grew to become a massive, well-attended and well-coordinated protest which attracted international press and diplomatic attention. Numbers of people from all walks of life made statements at various points across the city during the protests which took almost the whole of the day.
Most people are of the hope that this protest will continue in the days ahead much in the same vein as the George Floyd protests which today is making great change and bringing about reform as far as equal rights and justice before the US law is concerned.
Kadija Saccoh does not deserve to die the way she did; Rape is a criminal offence – rapists must be punished; Justice delayed is justice denied – these were just a few of the placards venting anger over the rape incident.
It is good to note that First Lady Fatima bio has lent her voice to the issue in a Facebook post last Sunday night. She said she and President Julius Maada Bio were concerned about the incident.
Mrs. Bio who has championed the fight against the sexual abuse of girls ever since her husband was elected, said she had requested for information from the family of the victim and that she was waiting for them to act accordingly.
“His Excellency is angry and anxiously waiting (for) all information from the girl’s family for appropriate action,” First Lady Bio reportedly stated.
Sierra Leone only last year amended its sexual offenses law, after the country saw a sharp increase in sexual violence.
It is hoped that Kadija’s case will lead to a national resolution or law that deals rigidly with sexual offenders in such a manner so as to discourage others from indulging in such sinful and anti-social criminal behavior in future.