Hassan Kamara: Missing & Wanted By the Poro Society

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Hassan Kamara
Hassan Kamara

By Millicent Mannah

In the field of journalism sometimes one thing leads to another thing or issue and that was exactly what transpired when this news medium honoured an invitation to cover the commissioning of a school that was constructed by a philanthropist in one of the deprived communities in the rural setting in the outskirts of Makeni, Binkolo, Northern Sierra Leone to be precise.

One of our ace reporters who was designated to cover the event also filed in a story which we deemed is news worthy within the category of human interest stories. The issue bothers around an attempted violation of the Freedom of Association of one Hassan Kamara, who in June of 2021 was forced by his father, Mohamed Kamara, to become a member of a highly secret society for young boys and men, the dreaded Poro Secret Society as a rite of passage into adulthood.

Mohamed Kamara, father of Hassan Kamara is a senior member of the society, occupying the position of “Gbanabom”, which is a powerful position in the society. Because the father was advancing in age it was traditionally recommended, as the custom demands, for Hassan to be groomed as a “Gbanabom” in order to smoothly succeed his father. However, when the son learnt about the plan and what he knows about the things that his father does during initiation ceremonies he made up his mind not to associate himself with the secret society.

To translate the laid down plan into reality the father decided to bring the Poro Society members in order to take Hassan by force against his will but luckily he saw them coming from afar.  He quickly decided to hide and ran away from the house. However, he returned in the evening hours and was chastised by the old man for leaving the house without permission. He was severely beaten with a belt by the father especially for going according to his wish.

After a week, his father, Mohamed Kamara decided to bring the society members again to take Hassan but this time round he was sleeping inside so he didn’t see them coming but only heard the unique sound that is associated with the Poro Society. Hassan immediately got out of the bed and jumped through the window to seek refuge at the house of his uncle, Samuel Koroma.

While residing at his uncle’s house, Hassan decided to start going to church though he was a Muslim who hails from a strong Muslim background.

When the father and other members of the Poro Society learnt that Hassan was residing at his uncle’s place and he has now become a Christian they stormed the uncle’s house with machetes and bottles but were unable to enter the house and they disappointedly left.

After one week the society members came back to the house and did the same thing but were still unsuccessful in getting Hassan and they left again.

Sadly, the uncle, Samuel Koroma, died in a tragic road accident while trying to take Hassan Kamara to another location for safety.

However, according to a reliable source Hassan survived.

Up to this moment of going to Press the whereabouts of Hassan Kamara is not known. But what is certain is that the members of the Poro Society are desperately searching for him vowing that if he is seen they will kill him and sacrifice him to the Poro gods.

For now Hassan has been declared wanted in the country by the Police and the Poro Society members. The Police want to ascertain whether he was among the victims of the tragic incident and the Poro Society members for treachery especially for adhering to the dictates of tradition.

From what this medium learnt there are other young boys and girls in the country who are forced to associate themselves with certain traditional practices, some very harmful, against their wishes all in the name of preserving traditions or customs. In reality their basic fundamental human rights are violated with impunity which is why it is important for Rights Based Organizations in the country to step advocacy and raise their voices against those harmful traditional practices otherwise young people will continue to suffer in silence.

 

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