By Fatmata Jengbe
This medium was fully informed that two individuals by the names of Ibrahim Mansaray and Salamatu Sesay, have been declared wanted by the Waterloo Police Station after frantic efforts that were intensified to locate them proved futile.
The Police declaration came in the wake of a bitter complaint lodged by the residents of Macdonald Village, led by their Chief, Oseh-Injah Caulker, at the Waterloo Police Station against Ibrahim, whom they described as a fugitive, said to be wanted for being at the centre of a customary law violation and Salamatu for aiding in his escape, through his late mother, from their village as well as for harboring him to the extent that both of them escaped from the long arm of the law.
While the Police stated that they will launch a full investigation into the matter and ensure that the alleged violators are found and brought to book, culminating into their being declared wanted, Chief Oseh-Injah Caulker, on behalf of his constituents pledged a whooping ransom of Twenty-Million Leones (Le20, 000,000) for any one or persons who will come up with any vital information that will lead to the ultimate arrest of the two people.
In a country, one of the poorest in the world, where it is an open secret that the Police, in most cases, tend to mortgage or compromise their integrity and ethical standard for fiduciary benefits, it could anybody’s guess to deduce that something might have induced them to show a keen interest in the case to an extent of declaring the two persons wanted.
So far some people have come forward but their accounts given seemed to be false claims, which in no way have helped the Police in their look out.
This whole saga, according to one of our ace reporters who extensively covered every bit of it, all began in one of the rural villages in the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to be precise Macdonald Village, where there was a haunting belief that was held tightly to by the community residents: that any child born prematurely, within six months, is considered a harbinger of doom. Doom for the entire village!
Such children were deemed witches or demons, and a law emerged, dictating that they must be sacrificed to avert calamity. This grim tradition became deeply ingrained in the village’s culture and the action to be taken was passed into law.
Against this backdrop, a courageous woman, a businesswoman, found herself expecting a child. Aware of the dire consequences of delivering within the ominous six-month period, she made a fateful decision. As her labor pains began, she confided in a nurse of the Macdonald Village Hospital, by the name of Salamatu Sesay, whom she has befriended that assisted her to flee the village and sought refuge in Wellington, in the East End of Freetown. The nurse, who was moved by compassion, assisted her to deliver a tiny baby boy on the 24th August, 2003, who was named Ibrahim Mansaray, bearing the surname of his father.
Tragically, the mother passed away after giving birth to Ibrahim, leaving Nurse Salamatu Sesay with a moral dilemma, who after deciding to care for the child, first reached out to the father in the village and told him, but overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation he abandoned the child.
Interestingly there was another nurse stationed at one of the health facilities in the Macdonald Village who was privy to this predicament or secret.
The former nurse, who was a friend to the late woman, decided to secretly raise the boy at Wellington, ensuring his education up to Senior Secondary level.
As the young man, unaware of his origin story, progressed through life, a distinctive mark on his ear, only known to the other nurse who was still stationed at the village health facility, hinted at the truth. Unbeknown to him, Ibrahim Mansaray, fate had a curious twist in store.
Invited to a pool party in a rural setting by a social club, the young man, Ibrahim Mansaray found himself in his birth village. Also unbeknown to him, while he was having some good time with his friends, old and new, he noticed that a particular woman, not aware that she was the nurse who knows the secret and knows the distinctive ear mark, was keenly looking at him. The woman’s gaze was focused on him leaving him wondering why the keen focus. According to him, he soon noticed a mob-like advancement of a group of villagers, with serious countenances, who soon gathered around him.
They forcefully abducted him, on the 25th December, 2021after the woman who was focusing on him confirmed that indeed he was the premature boy who was escaped with by another nurse, his late mother’s friend who raised him up.
The then villagers roughly took him to a deep forest where they tied him on a big Iroko or Cotton Tree and decided to do some consultations with the gods in a shrine about two hundred yards away before sacrificing him for an atonement to be achieved. It was within that period, in the depths of despair, his cries for help caught the attention of a passing farmer cum hunter from another village.
Appalled by the customary practice, the hunter rescued Ibrahim Mansaray, offering him shelter for a day before providing him transport fare back to the town.
Reuniting with the nurse who had raised him, the young learned the full extent of the danger he faced. To safeguard his life, the aunt suggested that they relocate from Wellington to Moyiba, also known as Mamba-ridge Community. Despite the move, rumors persisted of the villagers hunting for him, prompting the aunt to facilitate his journey to Guinea, to one of her friends residing there. It was even said that among the villagers were witch doctors who have the power of putting him on trance, abduct him without creating any alarming scene to be noticed in their actions.
However, even in Guinea, whispers of the search for him circulated. Our reporter said his aunt and a friend then decided to secure a visa for him to travel out of the country; a feat that was successful.
Before the report was lodged by the Chief of Macdonald Village, Nurse Salamatu Sesay intimated our reporter, who put together this excellent piece, after he contacted her, that driven by desperation and a desire for safety, Ibrahim Mansaray took a bold step and sought asylum in a new land, determined to break free from the shackles of a past that threatened his very existence.
The story of Ibrahim Mansaray falls within the context of one of the untold stories in Sierra Leone. His ordeal, as was stated, was deeply enmeshed in the labyrinth of tradition that encompasses an old fashioned custom which some residents in some remote parts of the country still continue to tenaciously cling on to ,thereby endangering the lives of innocent children.
According to a renowned Social Commentator, it is only through enhanced civic education and religious penetration that such a myth could be dispelled and some form of enlightenment could be brought to local residents that may help to put an end to such barbaric customs and practices.