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NEWS : Local News  

Bondo Initiators in Police Net in Sierra Leone
By Aruna Turay
Jan 29, 2009, 17:30
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It could be recalled that on our Monday January 26th 2009 edition, we reported an issue involving a 14-year old girl who was forcefully initiated into a bondo secret society by a group of initiators headed by the wife of the Western Area Rural District Council Chairman, Mrs Yenoh Alhassan Cole.

The forceful initiation which took place at Baoma Village along the Freetown Peninsular, started when the victim, Uma Aminata Sesay, followed a group of drum-beating bondo women right inside the secret bush.

Noticing that the girl was not an initiate, the women, headed by Mrs. Yenoh Alhassan Cole, seized her and forcefully initiated her in line with the laid down rules of the society.

The initiation of the girl who was at the village on holidays, soon became topical in the local tabloids, with earlier reports that the women were demanding the sum of three hundred thousand leones to secure the release of the girl.

All efforts by the father of the girl to secure the release of the girl proved futile, as the women insisted on first receiving the amount demanded and even threatened to inflict severe body diseases on anyone one that attempts to get the girl out forcefully.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the girls father visited the village to talk to the women to see reasons and release the girl, but to no avail. The matter was then reported to the police who suddenly jumped into action by executing a warrant of arrest for the ring leaders. Several arrests were made, among whom include the Section Chief and Headman of Baoma Village and some senior members of the Bondo society including Mrs. Yenoh Alhassan Cole. All the suspects have been interrogated and placed on police bail, pending further investigations.

Chapter 3 Section 20 of the 1991 constitution states clearly that No person shall be subject to any form of torture or any punishment or other treatment which is inhuman or degrading.

Also, Part 3 Section 31 of the recently passed Child Rights Bill states categorically that No person shall subject a child to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
of punishment, including any cultural practice which dehumanises or is injurious to the physical and mental welfare of a child.

Despite the arrests and what seems to lie ahead, the girl is still said to be in the firm grips of the determined women.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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