MONROVIA – Fifteen-year-old Julie (not real name) could never have anticipated that her biological mother, Ophelia Momo, would resort to such extreme measures as pouring caustic soda on her, because she, Julie, had taken L$100.00 from her.
By Mae Azango, [email protected]
According to Police Officer Ruth Winpea, a member of the Liberia National Police Women and Children Division, Julie filed a complaint at the Gardersville Magisterial Court, alleging that her mother had poured caustic soda on her since June and had neglected to provide her with medical treatment.
Officer Winpea further recounted that the city solicitor of Gardnersville had called Julie to discuss the case. Subsequently, they arrested Ophelia – her mother – and charged her with attempted murder. She was then sent to Monrovia Central Prison. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Gender took Julie to the hospital for treatment.
“Julie’s condition is critical because the incident occurred back in June, and her mother had refused to seek medical care for her. As per the child, her mother accused her of stealing L$ 700.00, but Julie maintains that she only took L$ 100.00. Her mother, who typically uses caustic soda for iron soap production, became furious and knocked over a cup of caustic soda onto her head,” Officer Winpea explained.
Officer Winpea emphasized that women should refrain from being cruel and wicked towards their children. In cases where a child has done something wrong, they should bring them to the Women and Children Division, as they are well-equipped to handle such situations.
In a Memorandum of Understanding, Mrs. Victoria Williams Zaway, Director of the Children Division Department at the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, stated that the Ministry would assume legal custody of the minor child until the proceedings are determined by Criminal Court “A” and will ensure her well-being throughout her recovery.
Assistant Minister for Social Protection, Maminah Carr, at the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, explained that the alleged perpetrator, the child’s mother, is currently in South Beach, while the child is under their care, receiving treatment at the SOS. After her treatment, she will be reintegrated with other family members.
“The child is currently residing in one of our safe homes while she undergoes treatment at the SOS, a children’s hospital we have partnered with. They sometimes provide free treatment to our children, as part of our child protection network. In this particular case, there is no charge for her treatment,” she added.
Maminah Carr further stressed that even if the mother is eventually released, the child cannot return to live with her mother due to concerns for her safety. As of now, the case has not been tried, and the lady remains in South Beach awaiting her trial.