Liberia: Zoe Accused of Molesting 11-Yr-Old Walks Free Despite Deputy Speaker’s Call for Her Arrest￼￼
MONROVIA – It seems that Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa’s order to the Liberia National Police to arrest Zoe Famatta Musa has gone unheeded.
Zoe Musa allegedly kidnapped and circumcised 11-year-old Tracy, who nearly bled to death.
News reaching this newspaper states that Zoe Famatta Musa was never arrested and has returned to Kakata to continue her initiation of a new batch of young women and girls into the Sande.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives had called for the arrest of the traditional lady, following his meeting with officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It all happened after he had read the initial story from this newspaper concerning what the lady had allegedly done to little Tracy.
“We are saddened by the news of the snatching in Margibi County of a little girl, who is now said to be seriously injured and is undergoing treatment as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM) done by a breakaway traditional group. Today, we had a fruitful meeting with the Assistant Minister Joseph B. Jangar for Customs and Cultures and Director William Jallah for Customs and Cultures. We will offer assistance to the victim; we call on the Liberian National Police (LNP) to arrest the perpetrators for kidnapping, assault and torture,” he said on Thursday, October 20th.
True to his promise, Deputy Speaker Koffa assisted the family with some money towards the child’s medical treatment and food.
When contacted via mobile regarding the arrest warrant, the Liberia National Police Spokesman Moses Carter said his office has no idea of the arrest warrant made by Deputy Speaker Koffa, but promised to look into it.
“I made contact with our Women and Children Office in Kakata, Margibi and they informed me that no investigation of such incident is currently going on by the police, or perhaps, it is being handled by traditional authorities. If it’s appropriate for Police involvement, we will intervene and report to the public,” said Carter after he had followed up.
When contacted via mobile phone, Assistant Minister Jangar said he was not aware of Zoe Musa still operating her “bush”, because the County Inspector had told him the Sande Bush was shut down following the incident. He had promised to call the County Inspector to find out.
Not only did the plight of the little girl prompt the Deputy Speaker to call for the zoe’s arrest, it also drew the attention of others, including Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah R. Gbowee, who, too, called for the arrest of the Zoe Musa In her weekly column, “The Children, Our Future.”
“I recently read on FrontPageAfrica online newspaper that an 11-year-old girl had been forcibly recruited in the Sande in Liberia. Her private part was cut, and she could likely suffer from a fistula. More appalling is the fact that her alleged perpetrator is still walking around the community unbothered while the child is in agonizing pain in the hospital. I got in touch with Journalist Mae Azango on what I could do to help; she asked that I add my voice to those condemning the act to call for the perpetrator’s immediate arrest. Until we take serious actions to protect our children, we adults must realize that the work that we are currently doing may not yield a lot. I join my voice with the many calling for Zoe Famatta Musa’s immediate arrest in the abduction and aggressive cutting of little Tracy in Liberia. The children are indeed our future, and they MUST be protected,” she wrote.
It can be recalled that little Tracy, not her real name, was kidnapped along with other children on the orders of the head Zoe, Famatta Musa.
Little Tracy’s case report, stated that she was chained by her both legs to stop her from escaping, while her face was tied with a black cloth and was eating only leftover food. The Benson Hospital Medical Report said the young girl’s clitoris was removed and a blood vessel was exposed which led to heavy vaginal bleeding. She lost a lot of blood as evidently shown by the use of more than six sanitary pads a day. This led to her needing to be immediately transfused with two pints of blood to save her life after she had been rescued from the bush.
Little Tracy, who is now discharged from the hospital, is placed on a three-month medical and psychosocial treatment. She still looks a little pale as she laid her head on her mother’s lap during the interview with FrontPageAfrica.
“The doctor told us that our daughter’s future is damaged because she won’t be able to go close to a man, least to say she will get pregnant. They said either she will die or the child will die if she gets pregnant and goes to have the baby. What the law says about kidnapping and forceful initiation should take its course. Those people took my child against her will and unknown to us; so they kidnapped her and should pay for what they did,” Tracy’s mother said, sadly.
Little Tracy briefly explained that after cutting her, the zoe women mashed different kinds of leaves and added salt, powder soap and cane juice and sat her inside the tub with the mixture, but it did not still stop the bleeding.
“The doctor also said due to all the mixture they sat her in and applied to the raw sore, has killed many of her cells around her private part, which is another problem,” said the mother.
She said before leaving the hospital, the doctor told them to feed the child with rich food in order to build up her blood level.
“Due to the loss of blood that led to the replacement of four pints of blood, he said she only has 10 grams of blood, so we need to feed her with rich food to replace the balance four grams because an 11-year-old child needs at least 14 grams of blood,” she said.
She said her major concern is the safety of her daughter, because as long as the Sande Bush is still operating, the little girl’s life is at risk in Kakata.
“The zoe women promised to kill her if she tells a soul of what happened in the Sande Bush, they already know her. I went to Kakata recently and heard that the zoe woman is back in her bush and is still carrying out her circumcision on other girls. I could not go there before she forcibly initiates me,” she said in fear.
She thanked the Deputy Speaker for extending a helping hand to the family and they will start paying for the three months treatment and psychosocial counseling because the child is traumatized, and they don’t know how they will get the money for the rest of the treatment. The mother is at the same time asking for assistance from kind-hearted individuals to help the child get both treatments. Interested people can reach the mother through 0886545960 and or 0776189406.
Rev. Noah Tour, National Vice President, United Liberia Inland Church, who had brought this whole situation to the limelight, also thanked Deputy Speaker Koffa for his contribution. Rev. Tour re-echoed that he had heard that Zoe Musa has been let loose and is gone back to Kakata, which she is said to be still carrying out her circumcision of other little girls against their will.
“This thing must stop; the zoe must be arrested and the bush be closed down. We as a church are saying enough is enough! On the American dollar, there is a symbol of an eagle carrying an arrow and an olive branch. Right now we are offering the olive branch to the Zoe and the government to stop this act but if it does not stop, we will take the arrow approach and go after the zoe and burn down that Sande bush. We have enough manpower to do that. So, we are calling on the government to intervene and if nothing is done, let them not blame us. The law in this country protects every citizen; we do not go after their members to force them to come to church, and therefore they should not grab our members to initiate them against their will,” he emphasized.