Young Footballer David Beckey Sesay lives in danger

David Sesay a prominent young soccer player

By Alim Jalloh

It is believed that the right of association and the choice of not belonging to any tradition group is a fundamental International principle, but this right is being trampled on by secret societies known as the ‘Poro’ and ‘Bondo’ societies, to which many top government officials belong, including security forces, and any attempt to interfere with their operations is resisted. It is a traditional society.

Both societies are said to be the training ground for manhood and female coming of age. They have some of the most rigid and inhumane ritual practices, and there are often deaths during such initiations.

When young men and girls refuse to be conscripted into the societies, their punishment is rejection by society and often persecution of the highest degree. If a prospecting initiate is forcefully conscripted, as is mostly the case, they are banished from their villages, and in the event they escape from the society shrine during or prior to initiation, they are chased and hunted like wild animals, with the fate of death.

According to our investigation, David Sesay a prominent young soccer player, playing for a club in Waterloo, known as the ‘WaterLoo Rangers Football Club (W L R FC)’ in the Western Rural Sierra Leone, on Sunday October 2nd 2016, became the latest victim of human rights abuse by members of the ‘Sanda Poro Secret Society’ at the Sanda Village, Mafokie Chiefdom, Northern Sierra Leone

Sources say that David was invited to play for the Sanda village   during their annual chiefdom football gala competition, but was allegedly Kidnapped and taken to the Secret Society shrine for forceful initiation. In an interview with an eye witness, Mohamed, it was disclosed that he first saw David with two of the youths in the village, who went to receive him from the nearby village, as the vehicle he was travelling by was unable to get to the village due to the bad road network.

Upon arrival at Sanda, he was ushered into a house close to Mohamed, where he was provided accommodation. Our source further maintained that during the brief period he met with David, his impression about him was that he is very friendly and calm. He furthered that later that night, he overheard discussion between some society members that the player should be initiated at all cost, after the match. He added that since the time was late he was unable to alert David and decided to wait until the morning.

Unfortunately, the members came to the house very early in the morning and forcefully took David away, adding that he followed them secretly to the shrine, but as a junior member, he could only stop at a certain area, designated for junior members.

He further revealed that when he was noticed, they asked him and all others to return home, intimating that the ceremony will end the next day.

Our reporter managed to catch up with Mama Fatmata  Conteh, David’s grandmother, who lives at Lompa, Waterloo,  and  she  narrated  how she has been taking care of David since he was  a baby, and  never for once told him anything  about  his parents and his village of Sanda. She revealed that Sanda village was David’s fathers’ home town,

Mamma Fatmata said she was married to David’s grandfather at the age of 15, and at 17, she gave birth to David’s father, her first born, “and things were fine between me and my late husband until, when I got pregnant for the second and third time and I miscarried, and lost another girl child,” she narrated in tears, adding that her husband’s family contacted a native doctor who accused her of witchcraft and responsible for all bad things happening to the family. “I started having problems with my husband’s family, they advice my husband to return me to my parents, and things became worse when my husband died, I was being maltreated and driven from the village by  his brothers” she said.

“They forceful took my son from me (David’s  Father) and I came to waterloo and stayed with some of my relatives, David’s Father lived with them in the village. Sometimes he paid visits to me and brings goods and presents for me, even David’s mother use to pay me visits, but I made up my mind not to  return to that village again, David’s mother came to me when David was just 2 months old. We lived happily for over a year, when my son requested for the return of his wife and son,” she explained.

She furthered that she later received shocking news that her son, David’s Father, was dead, by then, David was just 2 years old. David’s mother later came to her with her grandson, and explained that David’s father died a mysterious death during a cultural competition that he had participated in, and had emerged as the winner. On his return, she suddenly died, with no sign of illness. She furthered that it is against this backdrop that she has refused all the while to allow her grandson to visit the village.

She furthered that David’s Father was the second most powerful Soko bana in the Sanda Chiefdom, village mammy Fatmata narrated in tears.

She said David mother later fell in love with another man, and left for the neighboring Guinea, and since then she has been taking care of David.  She said that she nerve knew David was going to play football in that part of the country.

She continue that David upon returning from the heal he went through in village, and told her that he was lucky to be saved by an hunter, who untied  and pull him from a very deep hole that was prepared for the ceremony which is sometime harmful, he Came devastated and could not even say speak at that moment . Mammy Fatmata said

The Poro Men told my grandson that his father had early identify him to step in his position, a statement I don’t believe, because my son never said that to me, we reported the matter at the Water Police Division, but no serious action has been taken, said the old women.

She stated that, the life of his grandson is in danger because he knows for sure the secret society always goes after every one who challenges them.

The crying grandmother ended that his grandson has been force to go on the hidden, which she cry about every day.

The case of David is just one of few cases captured by the media in Sierra Leone and this are issue that hardly taken serious by authorities in the country.

One could even reject in holding on to cretin top position Sierra Leone if he or she is not a member of the traditional practices.


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