Liberia: Guinean Herbalist Arrested for Allegedly Raping 17-Year-Old Teenage Mother in Nimba County
Saclepea, Nimba County – A Guinean national, claiming to have power to exorcize witch spell from people have been arrested by Police in Nimba County for allegedly raping a teenage mother in Saclepea City.
According to the Police Charge Sheet, the man Saye Mezy, 35, kept the survivor, 17, in his room on May 15 from 8:30pm till the next morning on ground that she was a witch and needed to be delivered.
During the process, Mezy allegedly raped the survivor and warned her that she will go blind if she tells anyone of the incident.
He is currently in detention at the Saniquellie Central Prison awaiting trail, while the survivor has been to taken to the safe home in Saniquellie undergoing counselling and special care.
Reports say the perpetrators has 12 wives including minors from both Guinea and Liberia and when he is travelling within the region, he moves like a king.
How Did It Happened?
The survivor, in a statement offered to the Police, explained that her sister was being treated by this herbalist who accused her [sister] of being a witch.
She had gone to deliver food on May 15, 2020 to her sister who was staying with the herbalist when he requested for sex in exchange of the fees [$6,000] charged for her sister’s treatment since her parents could not afford.
According to her, she refused the herbalist’s request and the next thing he did was to send for her mother and falsely accused her (survivor) of also being a witch and needed to go under treatment immediately.
Since she was breast feeding her baby, the survivor said she opted to take her baby along and begged him to let them [her and the baby] go but he refused and ordered her to sleep in his room and ‘raped’ her that fateful night.
In the process, he threatened her that if she ever shed a tear or told anybody, she would go blind and die.
Excerpt of the Survivor’s account: “When I carried the food for my little sister, this medicine man, Uncle Saye asked me how my parents were going to pay his $6,000 for my sister’s treatment. I told him that my parents don’t have money but he said if I agree to have sex with him, then my mother will not pay.”
She continued: “I refused his request and he sent for my mother and told her that I am also a witch and should stay with him to be treated. I told him I was not a witch but he could not listen. My baby’s father begged him to release me to go home because I have a child but he refused.”
“When we were alone, he told me that I will sleep in his medicine room because I had a powerful witch and it was only in his room I could be healed. I asked my little sister to sleep with me and the baby but he put her out in the middle of the night and raped me.”
“When I carried the food for my little sister, this medicine man, Uncle Saye asked me how my parents were going to pay his $6,000 for my sister’s treatment. I told him that my parents don’t have money but he said if I agree to have sex with him, then my mother will not pay.”– Rape Survivor
How Did It Get Out?
The incident was brought to the attention of the police by a local advocacy group, the Community Health Education and Social Services (CHESS-LIBERIA).
According to CHESS-Liberia’s Executive Director, John Alexander Nyahn Jr., the survivor, after listening to the organization’s radio program on Sexual & gender based Violence (SGBV), visited their office in Saclepea and explained her ordeal.
Mr. Nyahn, describing the case as one of the most complex rape cases his organization has handled, told FrontPage Africa that it was not an easy task in getting the alleged perpetrator arrested by the Police given his connection and influence in the community.
Nyahn noted that through robust advocacy and continued follow ups, the police finally arrested him and took him to Sanniquellie awaiting trial at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court.
“This is one of the complex rape cases that we have ever fought in this county. He was really powerful. He has money and almost every politician around here knows him and he thought that he couldn’t have been brought down,” he told FPA.
“He ditched out money to police and journalists. He was still not arrested until we came in and threatened them that we will report the police and everyone that is blocking his arrest.”
Meanwhile, Nyahn said the survivor, along with her baby is doing well at the safe home, while the alleged perpetrator is behind bars and is expected to appear in court within 90 days.