HARPER, Maryland – Five-year-old Armah Geply, whose hands were burned by her 25-year-old aunt Patience Doplah, has been transported to Monrovia to receive better treatment at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital.
The minor was burned by her aunt for eating food without permission. In an interview with The Bush Chicken on her hospital bed, Geply said when her aunt noticed that she ate food, Doplah instructed Geply to purchase charcoal to light a fire, promising her that she would deal with her in a way that she would never steal again.
Police have since arrested Doplah and charged her with aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit murder, charges that require 5-10 years in jail. Her case was initially sent to the Pleebo Magisterial Court but it has now been taken to the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court in Harper. Doplah has already pled guilty to the charges.
In an interview, Doplah told The Bush Chicken that she committed the act but has asked the court for mercy, adding that she would never beat on any child again.
“Let the law and the government please forgive me,” she said. “I don’t know what came over me to carry on such wicked act.”
She is currently at the Harper Central Prison pending the court trial.
Meanwhile, reports from St. Joseph Catholic Hospital say the victim is responding to treatment but there are plans underway to fly her to the U.S. for advanced treatment and rehabilitation, as well as schooling.
Geply’s biological mother, Theresa Jackson, said she was shocked to learn how her sister treated her daughter. She told The Bush Chicken that, as a poor farmer living in the Ivory Coast, she had allowed her sister to send Geply to school in Liberia.
She thanked The Bush Chicken journalist who first reported on the story, in addition to Kartlyn S. Jlaka, a Marylander residing in the U.S. who helped raise money to fly Geply to Monrovia.
Meanwhile, activists are calling for the government to use this example to draw attention to the issue of child abuse in the country.
Featured photo by George Momo