By Alim Jalloh – 26th June 2019
Male/Female, same-sex and prostitution activities are illegal in Sierra Leone. Like all illegal activities, they carry jail sentences. Most often people whose sexual preference falls within these categories are the victims of attacks from their communities who frown at such practices.
This is most alarming as both religious faiths (Christianity and Islam), which make up over 97% of the population, condemn these practices.
Thus Lesbians, gay, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) persons are open to attacks and deaths with little (or no) protection from the law. Apart from the stigma and discrimination they face, they are lucky if they emerge from any such attack alive.
Though Sierra Leone is a signatory to many international treaties but it is yet to implement the freedom of the individual to practice his or her preferred choice of sexuality.
The practice of one’s preferred sexual choice has been embraced by various UN resolutions and enshrined in their Human Rights. Unfortunately these have not been domesticated.
Homosexuality/same sex practices are all illegal and those practising it have no protection from government.
Possiatu Saihed Kamara, a student of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) between June 16th to June 17th 2019, was reported missing from her college’s hostel.
When Information filtered in to this medium, our reporter mounted an investigation into the said disappearance and in this regard met with Abdul Karim Kamara, a relative of Possiatu who doubles as the youth coordinator of Masjid Al-Qudac in Freetown, said the Kamara family is a strong and committed Muslim family and therefore has nothing to do with a Lesbians because it’s haram in the sight of the Almighty Allah. He said whether Possiatu got missing or not that was not a concern to them as a family. “She brings shame,abomination, disgrace and bad luck to our family, let her just continue to be on her own, because we don’t want to see her,” he stated.
Our reporter visited the campus and caught up with Alimatu Sankoh, a close friend of Possiatu and a roommate who narrated that her friend started as a bisexual until she become a complete Lesbians, “her parents were never aware of this practise at first, but they started suspecting her through rumours, but by then she had already entered college. Unfortunately her parents went to the campus and caught her red-handed with her partner. She said it was on that day most of them knew about her sexual orientation.
Alimatu explained that her parent and other extended family members were very emotional and acted badly to her by disowning her for being so abominable to the family and the society. The issue spread immediately like a wild fire in the harmattan. Possiatu began to face intimidation, life threatening calls and messages from different people.
She explained that because of the humiliation and life threatening calls and messages.
She was afraid to report the matter to the police and said the police would not take it seriously and it would be worse for her and the family. She said it was because of the consequences that she decided to runaway for her life.
She said Possiatu was indoors for the whole of Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June 2019, on Sunday, Possiatu was nowhere to be found.
So Alimatu raised an alarm and reported the disappearance of her friend to the police and the media.
Possiatu S. Kamara’s case is just one of the cases of mysterious disappearance occasioned by attacks on people of same-sex orientation in the country and nothing has been done to review the status of such people in the country. The whereabouts of Possiatu or her current destination is yet to be known.