Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 October 2016
In the last few days there has been an alarming and sickening increase in the number of reported and unconfirmed cases of young children’s mutilated bodies found in various parts of Sierra Leone. (Photo: Some of the alleged murderers caught with body parts by police).
Pictures of girls and boys as young as 5 years old sent to the Sierra Leone Telegraph and published on social media are too gruesome and disturbing to publish.
Many of the photos show evidence of beheading; removal of the sexual organs, breasts, eyes, ears and bowels of those poor and innocent children. Their hands and feet have also been hacked off.
Reports from Sierra Leone say that these killings are committed for ritual purposes, and what is most bizarre is that politicians are being accused of ordering the killing of innocent young children in order to gain mystic powers that could keep them in political office indefinitely.
Despite these stories now gaining traction across the country, the government and the police appear impotent and reluctant to conduct proper investigation, or issue a national statement on public radio.
This nonchalant response, critics of the government say, lends credence to accusations of ministers and politicians being involved in these ritualistic murders that are now creating panic and fear across Sierra Leone.
In one reported murder of a young girl whose body was mutilated and her sexual organs removed in Lumley in the western suburb of the capital Freetown, the local police information officer – Inspector Alfred Sesay, issued this statement denying the story: (Photo: Crowds in Lumley, Freetown protesting).
“It has come to the notice of Lumley Police Division Management team (Task and Coordinating Committee) that a group of unscrupulous, misguided, and ill-motivated individuals are in the habit of posting photos in the social media depicting series of rituals of amputated head, foot, and other parts of the human body allegedly occurred within the Lumley community.
“This information is baseless, untrue, and a recipe to tarnish de good work of CSP Reuben Shyllon and his team in the event of providing adequate security coverage for the inmates of Lumley community.”
But many in Sierra Leone are now accusing the Sierra Leone police and State House of covering up these ritual murders for political reasons.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has requested a statement from the country’s Attorney General about these reported murders, and will publish it once it has been received.
What is happening in Sierra Leone?
Elections are less than two years away, and if this is the length that depraved politicians, desperate to hang on to power or win elections can go, then Sierra Leone has learnt nothing from the ten year civil war that took the lives of over two hundred thousand people.
Ritualistic murder in Sierra Leone is not new. Throughout the reign of the ruling APC party in the 1970s and 1980s, the country was on tenterhooks as communities were gripped by fear. But what is new, is the ferociousness and barbarity of these reported murders.
President Koroma and the head of the police – Francis Munu cannot continue to remain tight-lipped for whatever reason, on this sickening and troubling development in Sierra Leone.
To be labelled one of the poorest nations in the world is bad enough. But to now become the most unsafe country for a child to grow up, is the worst indictment of the Koroma presidency.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph is calling on the international community to bring pressure to bear on president Koroma to fully investigate these reported cases of ritualistic murders and bring those responsible, and upon whose behalf they are being committed, to justice.
If State House has nothing to hide, they should make a clear statement now to allay the fears of millions of parents who are afraid to send their children out to school.
In particular, the Sierra Leone Telegraph is calling upon DFID, UNICEF and Save the Children, to provide practical and financial support for the Ministry of Children’s Affairs to work with the police to safeguard the children of Sierra Leone, who now appear to have been let down by the government.
As the Sierra Leone Telegraph goes to press, it has learnt that the “APC-led government of president Koroma is yet to disburse a single cent in 2016, towards critical social welfare needs of the country”, according to local newspaper – Awareness Times.
It is understood that the social welfare and children’s affairs minister – Dr. Sylvia Blyden is using her personal funds to ensure that vital services meant for the safeguarding of children, are being delivered across the country.
The government is bankrupt but some ministers and senior public officials are still living a life of opulence, while public services are at risk of grinding to a halt.
According to reports, the Social Welfare ministry is one of the most corrupt ministries in the country, but the efforts of minister Blyden to rid the ministry of crooks is believed to be constantly undermined by those occupying State House.
“Just this week it has emerged that a certain donor partner was duped into releasing over one hundred million Leones to corrupt elements at the ministry in the name of holding a workshop for religious leaders to fight against the activities of Bondo women”, reports Awareness Times.
The money totaling Le 107, 562,000 was collected without any workshop being held; and it was all done without the knowledge or approval of the Minister Blyden. The theft only came to light after a letter written by the donor agency was revealed.
“The President seems to be underestimating the serious damage to his legacy by allowing some of these sabotage and corruption to continue unabated. Imagine the ministry responsible for welfare of our children, women, old people, disabled, Ebola survivors, is not given a single dime from January to October. Not a single cent. This is a total disgrace and the height of extreme wickedness,” protested Mr. Leo J. Conteh, an APC activist from Koinadugu told Awareness Times.
Meanwhile, as president Koroma for whatever reason continues to starve the children’s affairs ministry of vital funds needed for the protection and safeguarding of young people in Sierra Leone, the number of reported ritual killings has brought fear and panic across helpless communities.
It is difficult to understand the president’s deafening silence and what now looks like a police cover up of those reports. The government must be held accountable for the gruesome deaths of those children.