The body of a three-year-old child with signs of severe abuse has been found on the island of Rakeedhoo in Vaavu Atoll.
The boy’s mother was known to the authorities as having a record of abusing the boy, who is the eldest of three. Haveeru has published old images of child, appearing to show a black eye from past abuse.
“We previously informed the police and gender ministry that the kid was being abused, but when [the mother] was questioned she was going to take care of the boy and stop abusing him,” explained Rakeedhoo Island Councillor Abdulla Rasheed.
Rasheed explained that the council was alerted to the case today by health centre officials after the mother ran there before passing out.
Council members subsequently went to the woman’s home where they found the boy on the sitting room floor, head on a pillow, naked except for a rug covering him from the waist down.
As well as scratches to the head and neck, the boy has extreme bruising to his left ear and genitals, said Rasheed.
He said that the mother – whom he questioned previously about the abuse of her son – had since regained consciousness but was refusing to talk.
One of the woman’s other children is now with neighbours, and another is still with the mother. Previous offers from other islanders to adopt the abused boy had been turned down by the mother. Rakeedhoo has a population of just 84 people.
The Ministry of Law and Gender told Minivan News that it was still gathering the facts of the case and would be releasing a statement shortly. Police media officials were not responding to calls at the time of press.
The prosecutor general has told media it is investigating the case for possible negligence on the part of state institutions.
“It is unacceptable that the child was handed over to the mother for the second time after it was found that she was beating him,” said Muhthaz Mushin
Former Attorney General Azima Shukoor in 2013 described “alarming” levels of child abuse in the country, submitting amendments to the Majlis to enable the transfer of legal guardianship from neglectful and abusive parents.
Elsewhere, a 27-year-old woman was arrested yesterday evening in Baa Atoll Eydhafushi on suspicion of beating her child reports Haveeru.
Suspected child abuse can be reported anonymously to the police on 3000 600.