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Help families of kidnapped girls deal with trauma - Bright Appiah tells govt

BY: Prince Acquah
Mr Bright Appiah
Mr Bright Appiah

The failure of the state to provide the necessary social welfare support for the families of the three kidnapped girls constitutes an indictment on government agencies responsible for social welfare and protection, the Executive Director of Child Rights International (CRI), Mr Bright Appiah, has said.

“It is sad and very heartbreaking that almost 10 months into the abduction of the three girls, there has not been any attempt on the part of the government’s social welfare agencies to step in and provide psychological assistance for the families,” he complained.

“We are hereby calling on the state, through the Social Welfare Department, to provide at least a clinical psychologist for the affected families, especially the mothers, since women naturally are very emotional,” Mr Appiah said at a press conference held in Accra yesterday.

He said a recent visit to the families of the missing girls revealed that the parents, particularly the mothers, “are in a state of emotional torture and have been trying to deal with the whole matter in the wrong way”.

He said kidnapping was more than just a criminal matter, for which reason the government needed to ensure that the  families of the victims were assisted psychologically.

Apology

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Mr Appiah also called on the Ghana Police Service to render an unqualified apology to the families of the missing girls for painting a picture that the girls had been found and its attendant drama.

The Director-General of the CID, COP Maame Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, at a news conference in Accra on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, had said the police knew the whereabouts of the girls.

However, on May 13, she said she had made the earlier announcement to give hope to the families of the victims.

To that end, Mr Appiah wanted the police to apologise for toying with the emotions of the concerned families.

He, however, said the government and the state agencies working on the issue ought to be commended for the level of attention they were giving the case, noting that it would be helpful if the security institutions of neighbouring countries were involved.

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Background

The missing girls are Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, last seen on August 17, 2018; 18-year-old Ruth Love Quayson, last seen on December 4, 2018, and 16-year-old Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, last seen on December 21, 2018.

They were later confirmed to have been kidnapped after their kidnapper demanded a ransom.

A Nigerian, Samuel Udoetuk-Wills, 28, who was arrested as a prime suspect, has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for breaking jail, while the case is yet to be determined.

The police have assured the families that they are still investigating the matter.

Caution

Mr Appiah cautioned against the politicisation of the issue, emphasising that such a development was needless, while public discourse also needed to be sensitive to the emotions of the affected families.