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Christian woman escapes with daughter against FGM and rejects Sowei

Christian woman escapes with daughter against FGM and rejects Sowei

Mrs. Aminata Koroma, a devoted Christian is a worried woman as members of the Bondo secret society in Molango village in the Moyamba district, wanted her to be the next “Sowei”, the chief initiator of the society on the death of her grandmother and had wanted to initiate her four year old daughter, Mamawah Koroma into the society.  Reports say before her death, the grandmother had chosen Aminata as her successor and had told members of the society to initiate her great granddaughter whenever she visits the village.  (Photo: Sowei members in Sierra Leone)

According to her elder brother, Muniru who recently returned from this village members of this society are requesting to know the whereabouts of his sister, who reports say is out of the country and afraid to return, because she doesn’t want to be part of this society, neither the chief initiator nor for her daughter to be initiated.

Muniru told our reporter that after the death of their grandmother, they went to the village for the funeral arrangements. It was after the seven days that members of this society approached his sister and told her about the wishes of the late woman, he added.

The next day, he went on, Aminata had to escape from the village with her daughter because they were making plans to take her and her daughter to the sacred bush for some ceremonies and also to do the initiation on her four year old innocent child.

He maintained that his sister’s refusal to allow her daughter to be initiated into this society and not to accept the traditional rites stemmed from their strong Christian beliefs, which frowns at secret societies, not least female genital mutilation.

Asked if he has been in touch with his sister, he replied in the affirmative but disclosed that he had appealed to her not to return as members of this society are very determined to carry out their plans.

Female Genital Mutilation has remained a very sensitive issue in this country and for many Sierra Leoneans it is a subject they hardly discuss in public.  The procedure, which some experts say dates back 5,000 years, can cause massive and fatal bleeding to women. There have been cases in some parts of the country where children have died as a result of this procedure.

Even though some African governments have widely agreed to abolish this practice, it is still widespread in Sierra Leone and the government is yet to legislate a law to ban it particularly at this time when we are approaching elections as political parties are seeking the votes of the women, majority of whom believe in female genital mutilation as a tradition.

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