Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 October 2017
A man hunt has been launched in the village of Kamayusufu, Bombali District of Sierra Leone, for Alhaji Massie Kallon, who they say has refused to be initiated into the traditional poro secret society as an obligation to assume the mantle of leadership after his father, Chief Hassan Kallon.
Poro is predominantly being practiced among men in the northern part of the country where young boys even within tender ages are forced to be initiated into the society.
Unfortunately for Kallon, his father, Pa Hassan Kallon, happens to be the Paramount chief of the village and automatically senior member of the poro society.
Being the only son of the chief, who is the custodian of the tradition of the village, Alhaji is supposed to take the mantle of leadership from his father and automatically becomes one of the leaders of the poro society.
According to his father, it is an abomination and a complete shame and embarrassment for Alhaji (Photo) to refuse being initiated into the poro society because “I am the chief and custodian of the traditional society.
“For my first son to refuse joining the society means that the throne would be taken from my family after my death and I would not stand by to see that happens,” he vowed, adding that “I would do everything and anything within my powers to make sure that he is initiated into the poro and maintain the family’s legacy.
Alhaji is not the only young man that is facing intimidation in his village, many young men who have acquired western education and refused to be initiated into the poro society, have left the village and currently in constant hiding for fear of being reprimanded by local authorities in that part of the country.
“I will never go to my village because traditional authorities have accused me of committing an abomination for my refusal to be initiated into the Poro Society,” narrated one of the hunted young man from Kamayusufu Village, Morlai Kamara. Kamara is currently seeking refuge with a local Non-Governmental organization called Campaign Against the Initiation of Young men into Harmful Traditional Practices in Sierra Leone.
For Alhaji Massie Kallon, his life is currently under threat and he could be seriously tortured, if found, because his father is in total support of his initiation as a custodian of the secret society.
While government, through the international community, has passed a moratorium for girls below age 18 not to be initiated into the Bondo Secret Society commonly practised by women, there is no law that prohibits the practice of Poro Society in Sierra Leone.
According to sources at Kamayusufu village, some young men have died during the initiation process, which they say involves severe torture and that nothing comes out of such act because it is an accepted norm in their community.