A stepmother of a 14-year-old boy in the populated town of Brikama Njambai, some 35.3 km away from the Gambian capital, Banjul is accused of pouring hot water on her 14-year-old stepson, Mustapha Drammeh. The woman who is identified as Isatou Nije is since then bailed from the Brikama police station police source said.
The victim, Mustapha Drammeh is a grade eight student attending Bottrop Junior Secondary School. Mustapha lost her mother, Rohey Faal a few years ago.
The incident occurred yesterday, 30th August 2019 in the evening. Bully Drammeh, the father of Mustapha is reportedly to be at work at the time of the incident. The police have not since summoned him.
According to our source close to the case, the incident occurred following Mrs. Njie’s attempt to force the boy to “spread a bed shed” for her. The boy did but the woman is reported to be much uncertified and later unsuccessfully attempted to beat the boy following a little exchange. She eventual poured hot water on Mustapha. It remains unclear if the water was specially prepared for that case or not. The boy was rescued through the intervention of the neighbors.
Is polygamy an issue in The Gambia?
Famous British explorer, Mungo Park in 1795 observed, “Every man of free condition has a plurality of wives [in The Gambia]”. Polygamy is a widely accepted and prevalent practice in the West African nation. Recently, however, many people especially the young generation of Gambians are turning away from the cultural cum religious practice.
Such incidents are sporadic across the country; believed to be motivated by pour jealousy and hatred among co-wives. Most oftentimes, the children are the victims and occasionally the husbands. Few neighbors reaching out to this medium are treating this incident in the same light.
Child Abuse, A ‘Family Matter’
Child abuse incidents are poorly, reported to the police in The Gambia. Family and friends prefer to address such incidents amicably (mostly to the detrimental of the child) than report to the authority. UNICEF reports in 2010 indicate, “Over 90.3 percent of children age 2-14 years are subjected to at least one form of psychological or physical punishment” in The Gambia.