By G9ija

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio has declared the prevalence of rape and sexual violence a national emergency.

He said those convicted of sexual offences against minors would face life in prison.

The move follows a national outcry over the rape of a five-year old by a relative a year ago.

The victim was left partly paralysed by the attack.

Police say the number of recorded cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Sierra Leone almost doubled last year to more than 8,500, from 4,750.

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