By Ishmael Dumbuya
The Media and Spokesperson at the Waterloo Police Division, ASP Allieu Jalloh, has confirmed to this medium that they are currently investigating a personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) , 18177751 Edward Sulaiman Lungi attached to the Peace Mission Training Centre Hastings, but resides at the Benguma Barracks for allegedly sexually penetrating two minors -9 and 12 year-old respectively.
He went on to state that on the 2nd March 2023; military police from the Benguma Barracks arrested Sergeant Lungi and handed him over to the Waterloo Police Division on allegation of sexual penetration.
According to ASP Jalloh, the two girls were sent to dispose-off garbage when the said sergeant Lungi sexually penetrated them in a kitchen and threatened to kill them should they ever disclose their encounter to anybody.
The ASP added that the alleged sexual acts have been going on for a very long time but that the girls were afraid to disclose it because they had earlier been threatened by Sergeant Lungi.
In December 2018, the First Lady, Fatima Bio launched the Hands Off our Girls campaign. A campaign against sexual penetration specifically to bring awareness, influence policy and support women and girls to have access to reproductive healthcare and treatment for conditions like Fistula and Cancer, and to eliminate such abuses like early childhood marriage, gender-based violence and rape.
The Sexual Offence Act was updated in September 2019, now requiring a 15-year minimum imprisonment for a rape conviction, up dramatically from a 2-year maximum incarceration. Conviction for child rape has been updated to life imprisonment from a 2-year maximum sentence.
A Fast-Track Special Court for rape cases was launched in 2020, which turns cases around within a week compared to a previous two-year wait. The campaign sponsored and facilitated training of 40 medical doctors to treat rape cases and testify in court, up dramatically from just one doctor in the entire country. Free sanitary pads were distributed to girls attending government-assisted schools in Sierra Leone, allowing them to maintain their education which was previously often interrupted during their monthly period.