at The Gambia-Senegal border in Jiboroh are reported to have arrest a woman who
was attempting to flee the country into Senegal after beating her four year-old
grandson and caused him grievous bodily harm in Brikama.
Sources say the woman physically abused her grandson causing serious wounds on his back with bloodstains all over his body. She attributed the act as the work of the devil.
Child abuse and exploitation is punishable under Gambian Laws. The country is a signatory to certain international instruments that protect and preserve the right and welfare of the child including the domesticated children’s’ Act.
West Coast Region Social Welfare Coordinator Haruna Badjie, had condemned the act, saying the woman had failed in her responsibility to take care of an innocent child who is put under her foster care.
He explained that child was under the woman’s care for about three years. It could not still be established what led the woman to inflict the “heartless” attack on the child but sources say she is currently under police custody helping them in their investigation.
In May 2008, a senior magistrate at the Brikama Magistrates’ Court sentenced a man to nine months imprisonment with hard labour after he was found guilty by the court for unlawfully hitting his seven-year old son with a stick on the head for only cutting a mango fruit with his friends.
Mr. Badjie said the child is currently under medical care at the Brikama Major Health Centre. He said the perpetrator attempted to flee the country with the child but she was intercepted by Police at the Jiboroh border and is now helping the police in their investigations.
In the past, many adults have been prosecuted and sentenced on child abuse related issues like rape, maltreatment, labour or pregnancy. Child rights and welfare institutions must be strengthened and people must now be empowered to report child abuses to end the decades long compromise on perpetrators of heinous acts on children.
Mr. Badjie appealed to parents, caregivers, guardians and all those in direct or indirect responsibility particularly of children to safeguard, protect and prevent children from all forms of abuses. “People must not turn blind eyes on child abuses.”