A 20-year-old woman was beaten to death by her family members in South Sudan for turning down a marriage proposal.
Reports indicate the young woman’s suitor had offered 40 cows in return for her hand in marriage.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj, Taban Abel, a state minister in Sudan, said the woman was killed in the town of Yirol in Eastern Lakes State by her brothers after declining the arranged proposal.
Taban,who is the Minister of Information in Eastern Lakes, said the family had attempted to coerce the woman to marry the man in vain.
The woman’s furious father reportedly ordered his sons to punish the defiant daughter.
“The father was one who ordered people to kill his daughter because she refused to get married,” Taban told Radio Tamazuj.
Terming the move barbaric, the minister has vowed to end the menace of arranged marriages in South Sudan communities.
“This is a barbaric act that needs immediate intervention from the government. This is the second incident of its kind because last year a girl was impregnated and then her father beat her to death,” he said.
South Sudan is one of the countries in Africa with a long history of under age marriages.
The communities exchange the girls with cows.
A United Nations report estimates that at least 40 percent of South Sudan girls are married before attaining the age of 18 years.
“Child marriage is outright wrong, yet it is deeply entrenched in the culture of the country,” says UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Mary Otieno. “I say ‘outright wrong’ because it puts at stake the very lives and future of South Sudan’s adolescent girls.”
The early marriages are on the rise despite, the country’s constitution Article 17 declaring such arrangements illegal.
Amnesty International has now called upon the government to end the vice in the country.
“The marriage and killing are not only illegal but also inhumane. We call on the government to immediately hold the responsible individuals to account,” a statement reads.