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Herdsman Arrested, Detained for Raping an 11-year-Old Girl

Nov 24, 2008, 4:33 AM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore & Lamin .B. Darboe

Confirmed reports reaching this paper from the police in Jareng, Central River Region (CRR), have it that one Momodou Bah, a herdsman, has been arrested and currently helping the police in their investigations for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl (name withheld).

The incident, according to sources, happened at around 2:30pm at Niamina Pinyai last Friday when villagers were at the mosque for the Friday prayers.

Criminal activities like rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking are now commonplace.

Our sources also revealed that it was one Landing Camara who asked the victim and one of her friends to go and wait for him at his farm until after the Friday prayers.

As they were on the farm, our sources added, Momodou Bah, a native of Mali Kunda who was rearing his cattle, approached the two sisters asking them about the whereabouts of their father. "When it was put to him that their father was away, he held the victim's hand and went with her after which the other girl ran home to inform her parents.

"When the parents were informed about it, they rushed to the farm only to find Momodou Bah doing it with the victim," our sources added.

Our sources further hinted that the matter was reported to Dankunku Health Centre, where it was later confirmed thatMomodou Bah had harmed the victim.

When contacted to shed light on the matter, Mr Saihou Sanneh, headmaster of SofanyamaLowerBasicSchool in Central River Region told our reporter that the victim was not in school uniform when the incident happened, but she is grade four at the school. The school "has nothing to do with the case" he said.

According to Mr Sanneh, the school can only help the parents of the victim in the investigations.

"The school has nothing to do with the case and as a result, we cannot do anything on the matter," he said.

However, according to the National Education Policy report, any kind of sexual behaviour with any student in any school is conceived as sexual misconduct.

"No form of sexual contact shall take place between a student in the school system and any other person, be they another student, teacher, member of staff or a member of the public outside the educational system, whether or not this is consensual. Where this happens, it will be deemed as sexual misconduct requiring disciplinary action.

"In general, it is the duty of every member of the community to report all cases of sexual misconduct or harassment but, in particular, educators must recognise their positions of responsibility and play their role as protectors and guides of the student.

"Each school shall have a committee to deal with cases of sexual harassment and misconduct. The school committee is obliged to consider every case, and must report all cases and communicate their findings and recommendations to the relevant school Principal, the Regional Education Directorate and DOSE," the report stated.

President Jammeh was earlier this year quoted as expressing his government's total condemnation of rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery of any form in this country, saying such acts would not be accepted in this country.

This was however re-echoed by Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of the opposition United Democratic Party, who said that time has come for him not to defend anybody involved in armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking cases in any law courts. "I am totally in support of President Jammeh to say that there is zero tolerance for armed robbery, drug trafficking and rape," Darboe was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with this paper.

According to Darboe, the crime rate is on the increase in the country and any move to put a stop to it should be given all the needed support.