By Daniel Friday Martin-YEI
A seventy-year old woman was reportedly raped in Kenyi Payam of Lainya County in Yei River State, the County Commissioner Eresto Taban confirmed.
The incident occurred as the old woman (whose identity is withheld) was walking to dry her raw cassava flour in the hilly neighborhood within the village.
Speaking to Juba Monitor, Commissioner Taban said an SPLA soldier stationed at the area who was believed to be drunk threatened the woman under gun point and raped her instantly. “Yes, the incident happened in Kenyi. A drunken SPLA soldier entered the area and threatened people under gun point, but he ended up raping an old woman in the area,” Taban said.
“The soldier has been arrested and is currently under military detention awaiting referral to Yei for court ruling,” he added.
According to the Constitution, any sexual intercourse committed without due consent of the other partner, is tantamount to a rape crime. Also according to the law, any act committed whether with due or undue consent under the influence of drug is a violation of provisions within the Law.
Mr. Taban stressed that the old woman was admitted at Lainya County hospital, but was discharged in good health conditions. The commissioner said he had on numerous occasions warned women in the area against brewing local alcohol to reduce crimes in the area.
He said it was the first time in the county that an old woman above seventy year had been sexually assaulted. Mr. Taban condemned the act, saying it was a crime against women’s rights and urged the locals and soldiers to respect the law and their professional code of ethics.
“Any person found violating the law should not be kept in the community without any report to the Government authorities. This is a crime and I want you people to speak up because we will not contain people who violate the law,” he said.
Yei River State Police Commissioner Maj-General Yousa Lujang Kamba also confirmed the incident to Juba Monitor. He said the suspect was arrested and was undergoing investigation and would be presented for trial at Yei County high court.
“I got this report from the Police Inspector in Lainya County and we are working out to bring the suspect to be tried in the court of law here in Yei town. I am sure if he has committed the crime, then he will face a court ruling,” Gen. Yousa stated.
He disclosed that sexual and gender-based-violence against women was one of the biggest challenges facing old and young girls in the society. He urged the public to report any human rights violation against women to his office or to the police station so that immediate steps were taken to protect women and young girls and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice without delay.
“What I want to tell the women outside there is that they should not keep quiet,” he said. “Let them report any gender-based crimes to the police station. We have a special office created to look into issues of women rights,” Taban added.
“The office is located inside the police station and if there is any woman outside there who encountered any violation even at the family level, she should report to the police immediately, because we are working without fear or favour,” Commissioner Taban added.
Meanwhile the Chairperson for Yei Women’s Association, Hawa Adams, condemned the act and urged the local authorities to ensure that those who violate women’s rights must be brought to books. She said many women in the area were still faced with human rights abuses amidst reported which suggest that calm had returned to Yei River State.
“Women are vulnerable; we needed strong support from the Government. Women are being raped, tortured, divorced and beaten even at her family and we do not hear anything to do with arrest or court sentence of violators,” Mrs. Adam said.
However, the SPLA Spokesperson, Brigadier-General Lul Ruai, when contacted by Juba Monitor, said he heard about the sad news in the media, but his office had not yet received any official report to that effect from the SPLA division or from the government of Yei River State.