By Audrey Raymonda John

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Mohamed Haji Kellah, has revealed that President Julius Maada Bio has directed the Internal Affairs Minister to ensure the apprehension of all individuals involved in the deaths of five girls in the Bondo society bush in Kambia and other districts. This statement was made on Tuesday, February 6th, 2024, during the Zero Tolerance Day ceremony organized by the Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM-SL) Sierra Leone in Port Loko City.

In addition to ordering the arrests, President Bio has enacted a complete ban on the initiation of underage girls in Sierra Leone. Mohamed Kellah emphasized that President Bio has instructed the Chief Minister to conduct an investigation into all the deaths and bring the perpetrators to justice. Furthermore, the President has pledged to personally oversee the case of the five deaths until its conclusion, aiming to ensure justice is served as a deterrent to others.

The Minister highlighted President Bio’s commitment to the education of girls through the initiation of the free quality education project and his resolve to put an end to the misuse of women and girls due to harmful traditional practices. President Bio is determined to eradicate cruelty perpetrated in the name of society in Sierra Leone.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mr. Manfred Williams, confirmed three deaths related to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the North-west region. He stated that the police promptly responded to reports of the deaths, conducting arrests and sensitizing locals on the necessity to end the practice in accordance with the law. AIG Williams expressed sorrow over the deaths and urged local leaders to cease subjecting girls to the Bondo bush for FGM initiation. He also encouraged communities to report death cases and attempts to initiate girls into FGM practices.

Sheku Tejan Saccoh, the Port Loko District Chairman, emphasized the need for action to save the lives of women in the name of society, urging a proactive approach rather than mere rhetoric.

Madam Rugiatu Neneh Koroma explained the purpose of the Zero Tolerance Day ceremony, emphasizing FGM’s detrimental impact on the progress of women and girls and its role in preventing them from accessing education. She called on parents to refrain from subjecting their daughters to FGM and outlined efforts undertaken by various groups to end the practice in Sierra Leone. Madam Koroma highlighted Port Loko District’s leadership in advocating against FGM and urged commitment from all sectors, including politicians, to eradicate the practice.

The event saw participation from various organizations and authorities, including USAID, the German Embassy, Irish Aid, local chiefs, and others, demonstrating a collective effort to combat FGM in Sierra Leone.


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