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Sierra Leone declares emergency over rape, sexual assault

Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency over escalating rape and sexual assault. 

FREE TOWN – Sierra Leone has declared a national emergency over sexual and gender-based violence after recorded cases of rape and assault doubled over the last year, reports BBC Africa.

President Julius Maada Bio announced the emergency on Thursday amid a public outcry over the issue, triggered by a series of high-profile attacks.

President Bio said attacks on minors – which account for a third of all cases – would be punished with a life sentence.

Activists say many assaults are not punished under current laws.

According to police statistics, more than 8,500 cases were recorded last year – a rise of nearly 4,000 on the figure from the previous year – in a country of 7.5 million people.

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