By Foday Moriba Conteh
In present-day Sierra Leone, a disturbing trend of isolated physical attacks on individuals accused of being homosexuals is causing alarm, with reports suggesting that rights-based organizations are yet to take concrete actions to protect them from discriminatory practices, isolation, and even incidents of mob justice, sometimes resulting in fatalities.
The most recent case brought to light involves Alhaji Kargbo, a resident of Susu Town, Devil Hole, Western Rural District. Kargbo allegedly faced severe intimidation and harassment from both his family and the community after being accused of practicing homosexuality with his male partner.
The complexity of Kargbo’s case is rooted in a society that strongly disapproves of homosexuality, driven by strict fundamental religious beliefs opposing same-sex relationships. Coming from a devoted Muslim religious background, Kargbo’s actions were considered contrary to their customs and traditions, as both national and religious laws in the country strictly forbid such practices.
A resident of Susu Town revealed that Kargbo had been secretive about his sexual orientation since childhood, showing signs of attraction to both men and women. Despite being married to Mariatu Kamara with three children, Kargbo’s intimate connections with other men reportedly raised suspicions, leading to the discovery of his alleged relationship with a male partner.
In-depth investigations uncovered that Kargbo and his male partner had been friends since the age of 12, developing forbidden feelings for each other.
However, after giving birth to his last Son Alhaji Kargbo could no longer hinde the intimacy between him and his male partner which led to his wife becoming suspicious of him being a gay.
Unfortunately for him, on 2nd November 2021, Kargbo’s wife Mariatu Kamara caught them in a compromising situation, prompting a violent attack on Kargbo and his partner. The incident led to his escape on 3rd November 2021, but they became targets of a manhunt by angry family members and community youths, viewing Kargbo’s actions as shameful.
The situation escalated as irate community members closely monitored Kargbo’s residence, hoping for his return to deliver what they perceived as a fitting punishment for his perceived transgressions. The practice of same-sex relationships is deemed taboo and illegal in Sierra Leone, with both religious faiths and societal norms strongly opposing it.
Reports indicate that police officials attempted to apprehend Kargbo, but were unsuccessful, and his current whereabouts remain unknown. The Sierra Leone Police, alongside community irate youths, have declared him wanted.
As the situation unfolds, this medium will continue to monitor and provide updates on this complex issue involving LGBTQIA concerns, bisexuality, or homosexuality in Sierra Leone.