Saturday, March 2, 2024


By Our Southern Correspondence

Aruna Usman Koroma was a community youth activist in Gbandi Gorama Mende Chiefdom Nongowa Kenema District East of Sierra Leone until unfortunate events drove him out of his community.

He was mainly responsible to organize young people especially women into community activities of farming business and sanitary until he encountered a brawl with the local authorities.

At Gbandi Gorama Mende Chiefdom Kenema District, female genital mutilation known here as Bondo is widely practiced and is an upheld custom as preparatory stage for young girls to pass through adolescent before they become mature.

But the Young Aruna had a contrary view about customs and tradition. Because he is passionate about women, he tried to persuade the authorities to allow young girls to grow and become aware of the issue and decide on it later.

This was considered as an affront by the women’s elders of his community who frowned at his advocacy as an affront to society. At 32 the young Aruna one day held a meeting to inform the community girls that the EU was interested in helping them out go to school and be educated about human rights rather than early child marriage.

This meeting came at a time when 15 young girls below 18 years were to be initiated in the Bondo society, FGM, in Gbandi Gorama Mende Chiefdom Nongowa Kenema District.

The purpose of the meeting was to give the girls an alternative to chose between tradition and development, and not really seen as a direct intervention in the custom of the people. But he was mistaken by the local authorities who reported him to the local Chief and later mobilized and sent in thugs to counter Aruna Usman koroma meeting on the orders of the chief.

On a fatal Sunday morning July 25th, a brewing conflict ensued between the young women led by Aruna and angry youths including old women who are chiefs of the cult known as Soweis. They were vigilant in their actions led by other youth opponents of Aruna rivalry and domination of affairs in the village.

They violently attacked them at Gbandi Gorama village disturbed the meeting, causing the young girls to wound as they ran from the violence and physically assaulted Aruna. That was the last day Aruna spent in his community where he had grown to be a boy.

One attacker, Sampa Kolo Conteh accused him of undermining the authorities and a gay rights activist that was positively influencing the promotion of gay marriage in Gbandi Gorama village amongst his followers who are most fanatic Muslims.

In Sierra Leone, the authorities have not yet approved the plan to allow gay practice or marriage as a license and open act, despite Britain and some other key partners of the government pilling pressure, yet gay rights is heavily frowned at here and strongly refused.

But evidence of reported gay rights activities in the last two years in the country and those who engage in the practice or it’s promotions is that they face danger of losing their lives besides gross discrimination and threats they face, to which Aruna Usman koroma was not an exceptions.

During the brawl, Aruna was rescued by a group of other young Men who reportedly learnt about the attack from the women’s the victim was going to talk to them about the European Union school project.

Since he fled the village for fear of his life, he has gone berserk and there is no clue about him



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