Wade C. Williams, FrontpageAfrica, Monrovia
In what some are describing as the most sickening news out of post-war Liberia, a Lebanese national, Mr. Jafar Bashir, 43, is currently in the custody of the Liberia National Police facing a cloud of allegations that he has been involved in the raping of young Liberian children within the age range of 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15.
Mr. Bashir, according to police, videotaped his encounters with the young children. FrontPageAfrica has gathered that investigators of the LNP are currently going through the home-made videos to gather more evidence against Bashir.
“What he was doing was having sex on video and making pornographic movies of the kids. The investigation has reached a point of conclusion by the police and he has been charged for rape, sexual assault on minors, pornography and gang rape,” a senior LNP official, unauthorized to speak about the case told FrontPageAfrica Thursday.
The source said the process is now underway to have Mr. Bashir appear before court to answer to the charges before him.
“We have video evidence to prove our case. It beats our own imagination as to why a man of 43 years will get involved in such and not even someone above 18 but children as young as 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and he’s having this sexual rendezvous with them- everybody in the room at the same time, lying all over the place.”
The source told FPA that the LNP was able to move in on Bashir, on the basis of intelligence. “He was caught and admitted to the crime because we have video evidence.”
Continued to LNP official: “We are concerned about minors being abused. At this time we would like to appeal to parents to watch the movement of their children, because the police will only get at the end point of it, meaning that even though we have arrested this guy, the damage has been done.”
The official wondered what more society can do to prevent the damage. “The only thing we can do is to caution parents to watch the movement of their children.”
Another young man was also arrested because, according to police, he tried to interfere and prevent police for carrying out the arrest.
The man, whose name has not been released, has been charged with obstruction of law and both were expected to appear in court Thursday.
Police say, the Bashir has been committing the crimes over time and has been successful in abusing a good number of children within the area. “We are talking about pretty close to ten or twelve kids; that’s the ones that we can recall. We want to strongly believe that the victims are many.”
Gender Ministry on top of case
In observance of International Women’s Day this year President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared zero tolerance on sexual Gender Based Violence. But it seems there are some are finding it hard to live by the president’s pronouncement.
Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell contacted Thursday confirmed to FPA that her ministry was in the process of gathering information and will respond appropriately.
A team from the ministry reportedly visited the Police Central Station Thursday to ensure that the case involving Bashir was not compromised and also to get information on how they can visit the victims.
Our source said the head of the Women and Children Protection Vera Mendy is under serious pressure from authorities for exposing the Bashir.
In Battery factory where Bashir runs his Xpert Garage Thursday morning, the business was deserted. A FrontPageAfrica reporter who visited the area saw about ten old cars parked and a huge pile steel rod on a concrete floor.
A man appeared to be guarding the premise gazed at the reporter as he collected a broom and started to sweep the front yard.
“I don’t know what happen o… plenty police people came here yesterday and carry my boss man. Since they go he not come back yet.
And all the big big people not come to work yet … so we can ask them.” the security who refuse to give his name to our reporter.
Like the police, neighbors in the Battery Factory community were tight lipped about the alleged molestation of young children by Bashir. For years, since the end of the civil war, the issue of rape and child abuse has been rampant in Liberia.
Children bearing scars
The Bashir report comes in the wake of a new report by the charity Group, Save the Children which reports that the majority of victims of rape and other sexual violence in many of the world’s conflict zones are children.
The report is based on data and testimonies from several countries including Colombia, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The issue is being discussed by foreign ministers of the G8 group this week.
The Save the Children’s report, Unspeakable Crimes Against Children, says figures from a range of countries affected by conflict over the past decade show that children are often the majority of sexual abuse victims in war and its aftermath.
According to the report, a study in Liberia – still recovering from civil war – found that 83% of victims of gender-related violence in 2011-12 were below 17 and almost all of them were raped.
In post-conflict Sierra Leone more than 70% of sexual violence cases seen by the International Rescue Committee were girls under 18, and more than a fifth of those were girls under the age of 11, the report says