Two children aged three and five have died in Mbouda in Cameroon’s West region with medical records suggesting they were drugged, and sexually abused-which abuse led to their deaths.
The children left Douala and were on holiday with their uncle in Mbouda when the tragic event happened.
Their uncle recounts that when he left the house that fateful day, the kids were in good shape, but was stunned when he returned.
“When I entered the house, I saw the 3-year-old lying beside the couch. I realized she was bleeding both from the nostrils and the ears. I tried waking her, but she did not respond and that’s how I discovered she was already dead,” the uncle told the local television channel, Equinox TV.
The other child, the five-year-old, was still gasping for breath, but by the time she was rushed to the hospital, the child was dead.
An autopsy carried out in the hospital showed that the kids were indeed drugged and sodomized.
Police have launched an investigation to uncover the culprits who are still at large.
Sexual abuse of children has become a growing concern in Cameroon, although the statistics are few and far between.
Researchers from the Cameroon branch of the international NGO; The School as an Instrument of Peace, or EIP in French, say figures show the scale of the problem nationwide is alarming: bout 40 per cent of school-going children are sexually abused.
The abusers are usually people close to the victims: family members, teachers, guardians, religious leaders etc…
Ursula (not her real name) recalls how she was raped at the age of twelve by a priest when she went for confession.
“After I had confessed my sins, the Reverend father asked me to follow him to his house for ‘cleansing’. He told me to take a bath and lie on his bed, undressed, for cleansing. He said I was too dirty; he had to clean me well,” Ursula told Timescape Magazine.
“I told him it was my first time hearing such a thing. He started forcing me to make love to him. I was resisting, but he was stronger than me. So, he finally succeeded in raping me.
“When he was through, he said I could leave because he had purified me. I had wounds in my vagina and anus. The worst of it is that he is the cousin of my uncle’s wife,” she said.
She was later to be raped again, this time by a nurse when she was four months pregnant.
“The nurse told me that as a pregnant woman, I needed to have sexual intercourse frequently to enable me to give birth without any problems. He succeeded in penetrating me,” she told Timescape Magazine, wiping away a tear.
This is just one of the many disturbing tales told by the many rape victims in this Central African country.
Cameroon’s penal code states that “Whoever by force or moral ascendancy compels any female, whether above or below the age of puberty, to have sexual intercourse with him shall be punished with imprisonment for from five to ten years.”
It further makes it illegal for a man to have sex with a woman under 16 years of age even if she consents to such intercourse.
Despite these laws, few perpetrators of rape are ever prosecuted in Cameroon.