News Brief

Rape has Been Declared a National Emergency in Sierra Leone

President Julius Maada Bio made the announcement following calls on stricter punishment for sexual violence crimes.

According to BBC Africa, Sierra Leone has declared rape a national emergency following a string of horrific sexual violence cases involving minors. Assaults of minors account for up to one third of all cases of sexual violence in the country.


After hearing a young Ebola survivor detail how she was repeatedly raped, President Julius Maada Bio said:

"With immediate effect, sexual penetration of minors is punishable by life imprisonment. My government will ensure that men who rape have no place in society and also any man who rapes will be jailed forever so that a single rape becomes the last rape.''

Over the past three years, rape statistics have reportedly been increasing in the country with over 12 000 cases reported in 2017. In December of last year, the state launched a campaign entitled "Hands Off Our Girls" which sought to enforce stricter punishment for perpetrators of sexual violence particularly against minors. The campaign was spearheaded by the country's First Lady, Fatima Bio.

Speaking about the campaign, First Lady Bio said:

"Any man who rapes or places any form of violence against women and girls is not a real man and doesn't fit in any decent society. Almost all girls who are raped are most likely to drop out of school. If the girl child is forced into early marriage, the bride price lasts only for two months. But if the girl child is cared for until she finishes her education, the benefit to the parents lasts forever."

Activists in the country have lamented how many cases actually go unreported. And when they are reported, the perpetrator is prosecuted and sentenced to between 5 to 15 years in prison. A 56-year-old man who raped a 6-year-old last year, was given a pathetic one year prison sentence.

President Bio has called on Sierra Leone to restore dignity and pride back to its women and young girls.


News Brief
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Bobi Wine's Release Detailed in Latest Episode of 'The Messenger'

Trauma is the topic on the podcast's latest episode: "The Ballot or The Bullet."

The latest episode of The Messenger is something to behold.

Created by Sudanese-American rapper Bas, The Messenger throws the spotlight on the thunderous circumstances many African countries face, with a close focus on Ugandan politician Bobi Wine.

In his most recent traumatic experience, Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi were released from a nearly two-week military house arrest following the ruling of a Ugandan court. Keeping up with current events and circumstances that Wine finds himself in, the latest episode of the podcast recounts the traumatic events that led to Wine's very public abuse and eventual house arrest.

Upon his release, Wine spoke with The Messenger and had this to say, "I want to remind the world that we went in this election knowing how corrupt the staff of the electoral commission is. We saw this through the campaign and the world saw how much was oppressed, how biased and one sided the electoral commission was, and how much it was in the full grip of General Museveni. And therefore we are going to test every legal test, we shall take every legal test. We shall take every legal step. And indeed we shall take every moral and morally proactive, nonviolent, but legal and peaceful step to see that we liberate ourselves. The struggle has not ended. It is just beginning."

Listen to Episode 7 of The Messenger here.

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