2 Dead in Bondo Bushes

Cases of FGM are rampaging in Kambia District, Sierra Leone, resulting in two deaths within two days in the same chiefdom.

Salaymatu Jalloh, a thirteen year-old girl from Kaybalor Village in Tonko Limba has been reportedly killed in the bondo bush after undergoing a female genital cutting initiation into the female secret society. The matter was reported at the Sierra Leone Police in the Madina Police Station on Tuesday, 2nd January 2024.

FGM Campaigners meeting with the Kambia police

Persons of interest in the matter were brought to the Kambia Police Station on Wednesday, 3rd January 2024, for further investigation. The main suspects in the matter were the Sowei (initiator) Barlay Turay, the mother of late Salaymatu Jalloh and the grandmother who allegedly took the deceased to the Sowei to be initiated. All are currently in police custody.

Grave of Kadiatu Bangura, 17 years old.

The father of the late Salaymatu Jalloh, according to the police report, never knew about his daughter’s initiation until he received the news of her death in the bondo bush. According to reports the father received news of his daughter’s death via a telephone call, where he found out that she had died through FGM initiation.

Police report that Salaymatu Jalloh died as a result of excessive bleeding after she was cut. There was an attempt to secretly bury her body in the bondo bush. However, through the intervention of the Sierra Leone police, the body has been kept in the mortuary pending investigation and post-mortem.

Rampant initiations of young girls in Sierra Leone, with dozens undergoing FGM. Image From Moyamba District, South of Sierra Leone

In another development, a second death has been reported to have occurred in Bubuya village, Tonko Limba Chiefdom. The Executive Director of the Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM), Rugiatu Neneh Turay, reported the death of seventeen-year-old student Kadiatu Bangura as a result of FGM.

According to Turay, many girls are facing a similar ordeal, but parents and community stakeholders hide these cases so they are often not known about until it is too late. Turay vowed to follow these cases as they have done in previous cases in Bonthe, Bombali, Tonkolili, and Kailahun districts among others, and to not allow these terrible tragedies to pass by unnoticed.

Frontline Campaigners:

Keep the Drums and Lose the Knife (KDLK)

Self Help and Development Everywhere (SHADE)

Women Yearning for Equal Right (WOYER)

Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM)