Sierra Leone: Hundreds protest over rape of 5-year-old girl

Tuesday June 23 2020

Protesters in front of Police Headquarters in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on June 22, 2020 where they had gone to seek audience with the Inspector General of Police over the rape and death of a five-year-old. PHOTO | COURTESY



Police in Sierra Leone briefly detained some people after they took to the streets in Freetown on Monday to protest against the rape of a five-year-old who died of her injuries.

The protesters called for justice and an end to sexual and gender based violence.

The post-mortem report indicates that she was raped multiple times and died on June 17.

Police say the main suspect, who is said to be the girl’s relative, and a suspected accomplice have been detained as authorities continue their investigation.

Protesters said they fear the case could end up unresolved like many others in the past, due to socio-cultural factors and the lack of capacity to properly investigate and prosecute rape cases.


News of the death of baby Khadija broke at the weekend, after a copy of her post-mortem report was leaked on social media.

Sierra Leoneans took to social media to express outrage over the incident.

A leading child rights campaign group, Kids Advocacy Network (KAN), said the rape is a violation of the country's child protection laws.

“We urge the Sierra Leone police to fully investigate the matter and charge in court all the perpetrators to face justice,” it said in a statement.

First Lady Fatima Bio, who is a well-known campaigner against sexual and gender based violence, said she would wage war against the perpetrator.

She posted on her Facebook page that she and her husband, President Julius Maada Bio, were shocked about the rape case and will fight to ensure justice for the girl and her family.

Protesters on Monday said sexual and gender-based violence has always been prevalent in the country, but only gains public attention when a major incident occurs.

Last year, it made news when a five-year-old girl was raped by her uncle and hospitalised for months. She is now paralysed.

This case led to President Bio declaring a state of emergency and, subsequently, the country's sexual offences laws were amended.

The protesters on Monday sought audience with the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police, both of whom promised to act and ensure justice is served.