From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NEWS
US Judge Orders DNA Test To Identify Alleged Parents Of 14 year old Sierra Leonean Girl
By Allieu Badara Mansaray - Washington, D.C. USA
May 5, 2009, 23:22

US Chief Judge of Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Virginia, early April, ordered DNA blood specimen to be collected from two adults - who claimed to be the biological parents, of Isatu Jalloh, a 14 year-old Sierra Leonean girl living in New York.

Chief Judge Constance Frogale, ordered in court papers that, "the alleged mother, Salamatu Kamara Jalloh and putative father, Abu Bakarr Jalloh, and the above child shall submit to scientifically reliable genetic tests at a medical facility mutually agreeable to the parties for the purpose of drawing blood to be used to determine the paternity of the above child."

According to court documents, on February 3, a man named Abu Bangura went to court and claimed to be the girl's step father.

He made a sworn petition for custody and visitation determination between himself and the supposed father, Abu Bakarr Jalloh.

Abu Bangura was the husband of Marie Koroma - a deceased woman - identified in court papers then as the biological mother of the minor child.

Mr. Bangura explained to the courts that there was no other relative in existence for the child but himself and Mr. Jalloh.

A status hearing was held in March, and both Messrs Bangura and Jalloh told the court that Marie Koroma was the child's mother and upon her death, the minor child continued to live with Mr. Bangura in Alexandria.

Ellen Dague, a lawyer with expertise in children's law, was then appointed by the court for the minor child.

Ms. Dague informed Abu Bangura that she will be visiting his home and specifically said the minor child must be present during the visit.

When the lawyer arrived at the home and enquired about the child, she was nowhere to be seen.

Mr. Bangura said the child had traveled to New York with an aunt and will be back at the conclusion of the weekend.

Ms. Dague reported in court papers that, she inspected the two bed room apartment of Mr. Bangura. The master bedroom had a king-sized bed but the second room was empty with no furniture but trash and debris littered on the floor.

Abu Bangura further told the lawyer that the child attends at Minnie Howard School in Virginia.

Ellen Dague attempted to interview the child at school, but school counselors told her the child has been withdrawn from school since early January, 2009 and now attends in another school in New York - thus contradicting earlier statements in court made by both Abu Bangura and Abu Bakarr Jalloh that the minor child resides in the home ever since her alleged mother died.

Ms. Dague reported that she requested several times for a meeting with the child but both men would not produce the girl for a meeting.

Frustrated by their lack of cooperation to produce the child, Ellen Dague filed another motion asking the court to order a meeting between herself and the minor child - the court ordered that she meets with the minor child.

In a nearby school playground Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 09:30 a.m. at Abu Bangura's apartment complex in Alexandria, Ellen Dague and this reporter meets with the minor child.

A photo of her supposed dead mother was handed to the child by Ms. Dague.

The child immediately identified the woman as Marie Koroma - her mother.

This reporter then asked the child: "Were your parents marry to each other?"

She replied, "Yes."

"Why is your mother's last name different from you father?" the reporter enquired.

The minor child then said: "I am confused!"

She stated that she only refers to Marie Koroma as mother because that's what she was told to call her -but in actuality, Ms. Koroma was her aunt.

The meeting was concluded with the revelation of this information by the child and Ms Dague walked her back to Mr. Bangura's home.

Further investigations in Freetown, Sierra Leone by well placed immigration and vital statics department sources, revealed that the birth certificate of the minor child was bogus.

Page and volume numbers of the birth certificate of the child did not correspond with the records contained in the official births register in Freetown - in fact, a male child with a different name was registered in that official page of the registry.

The hospital center listed in the birth certificate as the place of the child's birth did not have records of her birth there, also.

Further immigration records investigation lead to a Salamatu Jalloh as the biological mother of the minor child.

But as strangely coincidental as it may seem, sources in Freetown spoke on the phone and arranged a meeting with Salamatu Jalloh - residing in the eastern part of the city - and almost at that same moment, Ellen Dague was establishing the existence of another Salamatu Kamara Jalloh in North Carolina, USA.

When sources in Freetown went to meet with Salamatu Jalloh at her apartment in the eastern part of Freetown, they were informed she had just left for waterloo - a nearby town in the outskirts of the city.

Numerous attempts were made to reach Salamatu Jalloh in her apartment and on the phone, but none was fruitful as she was rumored by neighbors to have abandoned her apartments.

Salamatu Kamara Jalloh from North Carolina was present in court during the April hearing, claiming to be the biological mother of the minor child, and was ordered to take the DNA test.

The minor child is currently in New York with non family members until the next court hearing.

The DNA results are also expected to be available at this hearing.

END.



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