No evidence Lethem-based soldiers raped teenage girl

Last Updated on Monday, 29 February 2016, 22:09 by Denis Chabrol

Even as the Guyana Police Force conducts further investigations into allegations that Guyanese soldiers stationed at Lethem raped a 17-year old girl, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) said its own probe has found no evidence

“The BOI (Board of Investigation) found no evidence to support that the allegations of rape occurred. However, the BOI was able to conclude that there were several breaches to the GDF’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as well as verify that some of the ranks under investigation physically assaulted a female in the vicinity of the Republic Bank, Lethem,” the GDF said in a statement.

The investigation was conducted at Lethem on February 18, 2016 following the allegations of rape made by a female resident against the members of  GDF stationed at Camp Kanuku, Lethem.

The GDF said its Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips has since instructed, that corrective action be taken against the ranks involved.

Phillips also ordered that the operational posture of the ranks based at Camp Kanuku be redefined, so as to ensure that the cordial and harmonious relations with the residents of Lethem is maintained.

Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum said on February 26, 2016 that the Director of Public Prosecutions has asked police to conduct further investigations into the allegation.

The teenager alleged that during the pre-dawn hours of February 19, 2016 at Lethem, she was raped by the on-duty soldiers while she was returning home from an outing.

The soldiers were arrested and later released on station bail.