Of mangoes, monkeys and a small Gambian girl
A 12 year-old girl has been shot dead by her father in The Gambia who mistook his daughter for a monkey.
The incident occurred in a village called Kerr Mot Ali in the north of the tiny West African country on Tuesday after the young girl, Hawa Mbaye, returned from school in the afternoon.
The local Daily Observer newspaper reported that the little girl had climbed up a mango tree to pick some mangoes. According to the newspaper, monkeys have been wreaking havoc on mango farms, destroying even the unripe fruit just as the mango season is picking up this year.
The girl’s father, Mamud Mbaye, heard the commotion up the tree with the branches shaking and assumed it was a monkey that had returned. He then grabbed his gun and rushed to shoot the intruder.
Without thinking, he launched a deadly volley into the thick branches where little Hawa was picking fruits.
Instead of a dead monkey falling to the ground, Mr Mbaye watched in horror as his girl tumbled down dead with her body covered in blood.
The corpse of the little school girl was rushed to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in the capital, Banjul, for post-mortem examination.
Mourners and messages of condolences continue to pour into the Mbaye home following the accident.
The police in Bansang within the neighbourhood of Kerr Mot Ali subsequently arrested Mr Mbaye, who is presently being held in custody at the Njau police station.
Sources at the police headquarters in Banjul say Mamud would be handed to the serious crime unit of the police while the case is being investigated.
Meanwhile, the body of little Hawa was expected to be buried Friday at Kerr Mot Ali cemetery.
A member of the Mbaye family in Kerr Mot Ali decribed Hawa as a beloved child.
"The circumstances surrounding the shooting and the news itself are unthinkable to the entire family,” he said.