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Page added on March 4, 2012
As constantly discussed, bad cultures, retributive justice etc., have had timeless and unending occurrences from within the confines of chiefdoms, towns and villages in Sierra Leone – a small, but highly rated country in the region of West Africa.
Local chiefs, on countless occasions have had cheering moments going after youths of society to unwittingly perpetrate harm against them; to thoughtlessly avenge wrong doing. Village or chiefdom elders have been seen using loyalists to take vengeance over their subject(s), who for any reason may directly or indirectly hurt them.
Notwithstanding civil society’s preached out expression of disappointment on issues of retributive justice and abuse of human rights of the defenseless of society, it is observed however that Sierra Leoneans influx countries far away from their home owing to life threatening attacks. Drawers of European, Asia, American etc., embassies and high commissions or foreign offices have names of Sierra Leoneans as asylum seekers; they do so to avoid being hurt or killed by their adversaries.
The case of one Mohamed Alpha Barrie is unavoidably a pointer to odd and uncalled for happenings in towns and villages up country Sierra Leone. He was reportedly chased by persons loyal to a local chief in Koinadugu district on grounds explaining his role leading to the death of the chief’s son. It is revealed that Mohamed was compelled to surreptitiously leave Sierra Leone and later surfaced in a country far away where eventually he sought refuge. They say however that family members up until now faced perils from adversaries of Mohamed, who on account of their desperation wanted him (Mohamed) dead or alive.
Findings have it that a great number of Sierra Leoneans have sought safe sanctuary in countries far away home due to bad cultural or retributive threats. It is a fact that persons have faced life threatening attacks from secret society members (mostly in towns and villages up country) for their refusal to either become members of respective secret societies or are accused of going wishes of local elders. The threats, as proved, have seen victims flee to known or unknown destinations far away from home for safety.
Mohamed’s life threatening allegation, according to findings, came owing to the death of a child whose father is a chief in Koinadugu district north of Sierra Leone.
Even though Abdulai Barrie (Mohamed’s uncle) was arraigned to the court, found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, adversaries insist they will certainly not rest until Mohamed falls into their hands and is killed.
Allegations are that the runaway fugitive (Mohamed) was with his uncle Abdul Barrie, who was allegedly a native doctor in Kabala. and that he was helping him in the administering of native medicines to sick patients. They say it was when Mohamed was administering medicine to the child of the alleged local chief that the deceased died.
Public’s suggestions are that government should urge local elders to refrain from illogical use of their positions against their subjects. That government should put structures in place that will surely bring to rest, the spate of forcefully initiations of persons into secret society, ritual killing etc as observed happening in communities up country often and again.
It is a fact that Sierra Leone’s 11 year war was tagged as an act of civil butchery.
The war, which ended in 2002, has left new traits of retributive justice.
Reflection must be drawn to mentions as in the Truth and Reconciliation report which suggest that uncalled for killings, retributive justices etc., must not ever again be tolerated in society. And despite widespread sensitization by government on issues of vengeance, the spate of attacks, especially in the interior, suggest that the Truth and Reconciliation report has not been well implemented, but rather abandoned and left in on dustry shelves by successive governments.
Sierra Leone unlike other countries in Africa, is respected for its religious and ethnic tolerance, but not liked for its bad cultural practices.
by Ibrahim Samura, Freetown
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