Senegal was shaken by a disturbing case of sexual abuse as a Koranic teacher suspected of raping 27 schoolgirls were apprehended in the town of Touba on Monday.
The accused, whose age was not disclosed, had been evading authorities for several weeks before turning himself in to the police. Following questioning, he was handed over to the gendarmerie.
Touba, considered a sacred city by the Mourides, a prominent Muslim religious brotherhood in Senegal, was the site of these alleged crimes.
According to a police official, the victims, who are minors, had provided medical certificates as evidence of the assaults.
The rapes reportedly occurred over an unspecified period, although specific details were not disclosed. The ages of the victims were not commented upon either. In response to these heinous acts, the Koranic school associated with the accused has been closed.
This shocking case came to light when one of the victims refused to return to the school, bravely exposing the sexual relations the Koranic master was having with her and the other girls.
The incident occurred in the context of a highly publicized rape trial involving opposition politician Ousmane Sonko. Although Mr. Sonko was acquitted of the rape charges, he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for inciting indecent assault.
The recent arrests and legal actions highlight the urgent need to address sexual violence in Senegal. In 2020, the Senegalese Parliament criminalized rape, signaling a step towards recognizing and combatting such crimes.
As the nation grapples with the aftermath of these disturbing cases, there is a growing call for increased efforts to protect vulnerable individuals and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.