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VIDEO - The story of how an 18-year-old girl was attacked with acid by her ex-boyfriend in Kumasi

When Martha Karikari Asiamah felt a harsh substance on her face and body four years ago, she screamed in pain. 
Her skin, she said, was literally boiling and melting away and to her dismay the cause was acid. 

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To date, Ms Asiamah, now 23 years old, has undergone 14 surgeries, including skin grafts, nine eye surgeries, neck contracture release surgeries and eyelash removal every three to four weeks.

The suspects, her ex-boyfriend Prince Amankwah and a man in her neighbourhood, Bobo, have been on the run with the police making no headway in bringing them to justice.

Our reporter, Gloria Apprey during the interview 

In an interview with The Mirror in Accra recently, Ms Asiamah noted how her dream of becoming a lawyer had been shattered by the incident.

She believes strongly the attack was masterminded by her ex-boyfriend after she had refused his suggestion of going into a blood covenant with him.

Physically, she is now disfigured and says she has poor eyesight, feels a burning sensation when out in the sun, has more medical bills to pay and has been hiding behind nose masks in order not to attract attention or ridicule. 

Unfortunately, her attackers are at large with police making little to no headway to bring justice

For her, sharing her story was a step towards healing and raising awareness of the dangers of domestic abuse and the need for effective law enforcement.

She hopes  that with support, she would pursue her dream career, have a family, get funding for reconstructive surgery and bring her attackers to justice.

Early childhood
According to Ms Asiamah, she is the fourth of five children born to farmers, Mrs Dora Karikari and Mr Richard Karikari.
Initially growing up in Bibiani in the Ashanti Region, she moved in with her grandmother, Madam Martha Agyei at Kokomlemle in Accra then later to Atonsu in the Ashanti Region.

She had her basic education at the Golden Rule International School at Atonsu then to the Kumasi Secondary Technical School (KSTS) for high school.

The ill-fated relationship
Growing up in Atonsu, Miss Asiamah said she was known for her bright smile, kind heart and beauty which attracted many suitors. 

“I was 17 years old, and in my second year at KSTS I dated Prince. He was a friend in my neighbourhood who had just completed the Kumasi High School. Our relationship only lasted a year because he was very controlling and obsessive,” she said.

She has undergone over 14 surgeries so far 

She added that he would monitor her every move, restrict her from having friends and frequently hacked into her social media accounts to insult her male friends.

Ms Asiamah said because his actions made her feel trapped, she decided to break the relationship but that did not sit well with Prince. 

“He harassed me, accused me of seeing some other guy and even changed my number to ensure only he and my family could contact me,” she recalled. 

She said Prince even broke into the said male friend’s house at 1 a.m., seized his phone, and deleted her contact and photos. 

                                                                                                                 Writer’s email: [email protected] 

Miss Martha Karikari Asiamah seeks support to undergo reconstructive surgery 

The incident
The harassment, according to her, climaxed when a boy who lived in their neighbourhood arrived at her house with a package containing an empty local savings box and an empty spray bottle and fled.

“The package did not have an address and I did not understand what it meant so I felt threatened. I made several calls to Prince, family members and asked around the area if anyone had an idea where it was from,” she said.

A week later, on the evening of January 27, 2020, Ms Asiamah said she returned home to a call from Prince who asked her whereabouts after she had gone out to buy noodles from Prince’s mother’s provision shop. 

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Miss Asiamah with her grandmother, Madam Martha Adjei 

She added that moments later, her grandmother asked her to check the television antenna in the backyard and as soon as she went downstairs, someone suddenly threw the acid on her. 

“My body started melting, and I screamed as the attacker fled. Sadly, my grandmother who rushed out to help, slipped in the acid, burning part of her body as well”, she said.

Aftermath and struggles
For the first two weeks, Miss Asiamah  was hospitalised and said Prince was there helping her and acting like the perfect gentleman and even assisting in police investigations.

She chanced upon a conversation between Prince and Bobo who agreed to the deal in exchange for GH₵100. This Bobo man, she recalled, was the same person who delivered the package.

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“Unfortunately, I couldn’t report him in time because I couldn’t speak and the doctors had to stitch my eyes shut for 10 months. During that time, he had run away,” she explained.   

Martha Karikari Asiamah's parents

Little progress in police investigations
“In my opinion, the police seem uninterested. Maybe, because I am a nobody. The case is being handled by the Kumasi Central Police Station,” she said.

She added that she suspected that Prince’s mother, who was still in Atonsu, knows his whereabouts but was refusing to talk (even when she was arrested and questioned by the police some years ago).

When the Chief Investigative Officer in charge of the case was reached, our reporter was asked to write a letter to the Regional Police Commander before information could be shared.  This has been done with no response yet.

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Miss Asiamah (right) with some friends

Appeal for support for reconstructive surgery
“I have done my research and Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America can help with reconstructive surgery but I need about USD 50,000 in order to see this through”, she said.

She added that her main wish was to get her eyes corrected,  permanently stop her eyelashes from growing because they enter her eyes, fix her nose and lips and get more contracture release surgery around her neck and chest.

During the healing process of Ms Asiamah

“This will help me live a somewhat normal life, go back to school and enjoy my hobbies which are music, sketching and hanging out with my friends,” she added.

Currently, Ms Asiamah says she has been able to raise some amount through donations. 

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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