Justice taking too long for teenager raped by 21 men

Residents of a small village located north of the hilly Ilima ward in Kaiti constituency, Makueni County, want authorities to take action against 21 men who allegedly defiled a standard six girl.

The suspected defilers include a teacher, a Government retiree, boda boda operator and a hotel worker. The men are believed to be among several that took advantage of the girl over a period of time since 2017.

The victim is a 15-year-old girl, the fourth of seven children in her family.

The teacher was recently posted to a school next to the one the girl attends and is said to have given her Sh50 to buy her silence.

Speaking to The Standard, the girl's distraught mother says all she wants is justice for her daughter whose innocence has been stolen at a tender age.

“I’m not happy at all. All I want is justice for my child since she has already named the culprits behind this heinous act,” she said.

According to the girl's statement to detectives in Kilome, also on the list of men suspected to have taken advantage of her is a close relative. And the identity of the boda boda operator is said to have come to light after he helped her to procure an abortion.

"I can confirm that the issue of the 21 people was reported to us. However, this is a matter that calls for intensive investigation since some suspects have fled," said Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Dege.

The girl's mother narrated how she found out what had been happening.

She had sent her daughter to the Kandoloni shopping centre to buy sugar. When the girl failed to return, she went looking for her and met a neighbour who told her the girl was lying in the nearby forest, bleeding heavily.

“I did send her on that day, May 11 (this year). Unfortunately, she didn’t return home but I was alerted by a neighbour who had found her unconscious and bleeding in the forest,” she said.

She admitted to knowing about her daughter's pregnancy but insisted that the girl had refused to reveal the identity of the baby's father. At the time of the abortion, the girl was six months pregnant.

She was taken to several dispensaries before being referred to Makueni Level 4 Hospital, where the bleeding was controlled and twin fetuses were removed, dead.

The girl opened up and narrated how the teacher defiled her in his house. When he defiled her a second time, he gave her Sh100 and warned her of dire consequences if she told anyone of their encounter owing to his 'position' in society.

The pupil said the men would defile her early in the morning and late in the evening as she went to and from school.

The girl, who has not reported back to school for the second term, cannot tell exactly who among the 21 men impregnated her.

Her mother says the family has been living in fear since the incident was reported at Kilome Police Station.

“One early morning the teacher's wife came to my home and warned me against dragging her husband into the matter. She even tried to strangle me,” the girl's mother claimed.

Prior to his wife's visit, the teacher reportedly visited the family and offered Sh10,000 as "down payment" to clear his name.

“The teacher called in one day and tried to convince me to take money to clear his name but I refused because money cannot be equated to my child’s life,” the woman said.

Police have been accused of dragging their feet since no arrests have been made.

“There are sources claiming there are some quarters trying to compromise the case through bribing officers involved so the child does not get justice,” a source said.

Frederick Nyamasyo, the area boda boda Sacco chairman, blamed officers for their slow pace in arresting the suspects.

Similar case

"A boda boda rider was mentioned in a similar case and he was arrested and charged within three days, but now police are dragging this case as it involves influential people," he complained.

Police were also blamed by Ilima Zone Education Officer Metho Kilonzo for not acting swiftly on the matter.

Mr Kilonzo said the teacher had earlier been implicated in a similar matter and demoted.

The incident prompted area MP Joshua Kimilu, education stakeholders and Kilungu security personnel to convene a meeting to discuss it and assure parents of their daughters' security.

“Parents who 'trade' with the bodies of their children should be warned, and if you are a teacher and it happens that you have a pregnant pupil and you remain silent, then you will be held accountable,” Mr Kimilu said.

The MP also called on parents not to entertain kangaroo courts when their children were defiled.