A young man was on Friday charged with the attack of a Busia school girl, whose story has attracted global attention.
But the suspect, who sat his KCPE this year, was charged with injuring the Standard Seven pupil, together with five others not before court.
Dressed in school uniform, the suspect appeared before Busia Principal Magistrate Innocent Maisiba and denied hurting ‘Liz’ on the night of June 26 at Mulwanda Village in Malachi East Location.
The magistrate ordered an age assessment on the accused, who claimed he was 16.
Mr Maisiba also directed that he be held at Kakamega Children’s Remand after police told the court that he was likely to go into hiding if released.
The suspect, who has been on the run since October 8 when the Nation’s DN2 published an exclusive story on the girl’s plight, was arrested soon after writing his last paper on Thursday.
The 16-year-old girl and her family say she was gang-raped by the six youths, who, to conceal their crime, threw her into a pit latrine. As a result of the rape and the fall, the girl developed double obstetric fistula and a spinal injury.
Now confined to a wheel-chair, the girl is receiving treatment at the Gynocare Fistula Centre in Eldoret, where she has undergone surgery.
Three suspects were arrested and ‘punished’ by being ordered to cut grass at Tingolo AP Camp before being released on June 27. On November 2, Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo said disciplinary action, which he did not specify, had been taken against the officers.
In his statement, Mr Kimaiyo appeared to suggest that there may be no evidence to charge the suspects with rape, saying the girl reported it late “after her condition deteriorated.’’
But in response, the Coalition on Violence Against Women accused the police of insensitivity and demanded that they investigate claims of rape and lay charges.
“Liz has made a report of gang-rape and her evidence, coupled with medical reports, shows that she is suffering from fistula as a result of sexual violence,’’ Executive Director Saida Ali says in an open letter to Mr Kimaiyo.
The suspect’s case will be mentioned on November 29.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NJERI RUGENE