20 June 2018

Ghana: Herbalist in Trouble for Marrying Girl, 16

A SIXTEEN year-old girl, who has been 'forcibly' married to a 60-year old mallam cum herbalist at Sege in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region, has been rescued by the Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

However, the traditional herbalist, Alhassan Sottie, has since been arrested and charged with harbouring and would be put before the Sege Magistrate Court today. When the joint police and social welfare team arrived at Alhassan Sottie's residence to effect the arrest and rescue the girl, she was seen washing Sottie's clothes.

The girl, name withheld, until her forced marriage, was running errands for her late mother, who was receiving herbal treatment by Sottie at the outskirt of the Sege T township. The girl's senior brother, Peter Tetteh, the complainant in the case, said that their deceased mother was seeking herbal treatment at Sottie's abode, and the girl was withdrawn from schooling to cater for their mother.

Tetteh said "after the final funeral rites of their mother, all attempts to recall her sister home proved futile, and when "we, [the family] went to Alhassan to take our sister home he (Alhassan) told us that our mother had given her to him to marry before she passed on".

Mr. Tetteh said the herbalist threatened the family with death, and they stopped pursuing the case. Tetteh said on May 30, he reported the matter to the ministry resulting in the rescuing of the girl and Sottie's arrest.

Tetteh claimed her sister has been reluctant to leave Sottie's home, because of a charm Sottie might have used on her. After Sottie was arrested, a medical test has been run on the girl and the report is yet to be determined, but she has been brought to the Osu Remand Home, where she was under the care of the state.

The Ada West District Head of the Social Welfare and Community Development Department, Divine A.K. Exorgbe, said the department was overwhelmed with such reports.

He said he wanted Sottie to be dealt with, to serve as a deterrent to others, who engaged in such act. The teenager, interacting with the Ghanaian Times on the way to Accra, admitted that Sottie had had sex with her several times.

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