Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador to the United States is alleged to have beaten his daughter with a wooden chair leg, but he will not be arrested as he has diplomatic immunity.
Police in Arlington, near Washington DC, were called to Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue’s residence on Monday.
A spokesman said they had found a girl with a “significant laceration to her head”, bruises and a swollen eye. She had been beaten with a wooden chair leg and the ambassador was the prime suspect, he said.
The girl is understood to be aged 16 and was reportedly taken to hospital after the incident.
The police spokesman said that officers, who have no jurisdiction in cases involving diplomats, did not make any arrests but informed the US state department. A state department official refused to discuss the incident.
The girl was widely reported to be the ambassador’s teenage daughter.
Yesterday, a woman at the residence told reporters who contacted her that the ambassador’s daughter was fine and “in good spirits”.
The embassy of Equatorial Guinea has not commented on the incident.
The police spokesman said police had been called to the same residence over a domestic incident in December 2013, but, again, due to diplomatic immunity, no-one had been detained or charged.
Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producers. It is now one of the richest countries per capita in Africa and its gross domestic product per capita ranks 69th in the world.
However, the wealth is distributed very unevenly and few people have benefited from the oil riches.
The country ranks 144th on the UN’s 2014 Human Development Index. Less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water and 20 per cent of children die before reaching the age of five.
The country’s authoritarian regime has one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the “worst of the worst” in Freedom House’s annual survey of political and civil rights.
Reporters Without Borders ranks the president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, among its “predators” of press freedom.
Human trafficking is a also significant problem, with the 2012 US Trafficking in Persons Report stating that “Equatorial Guinea is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking”.