Sierra Leone’s Anti-FGM and good governance advocate is wanted by the government

Family members have confirmed to this medium that they have received threats from some government operatives to produce the Sierra Leonean born Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and good governance advocate Ibrahim Kallie Bangura, who fled the country few years ago.

Bangura who is the Executive Director of Move Salone Organization, a Non-Government Organization that advocates for Women’s right and the vulnerable and he is as well a very strong campaigner for the eradication of the FGM from our traditional practices, and has been for years now openly condemning Female Genital Mutilation act which he described as not only barbaric but a harmful traditional practice in his home country of Sierra Leone.

In late 2015, he reported from an undisclosed location via mobile phone calls to the National Police Force and the Office of National Security that he had been receiving calls and text messages of death threats against his person for openly condemning the FGM act which is fondly called “Bondo Secret Society” where the genitalia of young girls mostly below the age of 15 years are being mutilated.

“They are threatening my life for advocating against this inhumane treatment of young girls, wrongful and sinful act and its becoming very scary but I believe in my course and will not relent in letting our people understand the health implications of Female Genital Mutilation.” Bangura continued.

His ageing mother said the authorities have tried all they could to know his whereabout but they couldn’t get any reliable information and even his close friends do not know his ideal location. She complained of continued harassment by politicians to produce him on allegations that he has also made their government unpopular.

“They are even threatening to kill him if they see him, every day they will storm our home asking about him, demanding that we produce him or tell where he is hiding” she said crying. She further stated that they are losing hope as they do not know if he is still alive or not. Thus, making the entire situation very worrisome.

Bangura who has been running from country to country for fear of the threats on his life and has not been seen or heard of according to some of his family members.

Apart from his advocacy against Female Genital Mutilation, he has also been very critical with government policies and programs on social media and mainly WhatsApp and Facebook.

“In the WhatsApp forum, Bangura and most of the members who are young people constructively criticize government policies openly without any fear of what will come after, and that is proven to be too risky considering the prevailing situation as Sierra Leone prepares for its elections in 2018, as the issue of FGM is culturally sensitive and politically charged,” said an anonymous source.

In less than two months, Sierra Leoneans will be voting for a new government on 7th March 2018 in a multitier general election. In what is believed to be a very crucial election, critical voices like Bangura, are constantly being suppressed and intimidated by the ruling party for fear of not loosing the elections to their opponents.

Bangura whose whereabout is still not known is not only fleeing his country because of his advocacy against female genital mutilation but also for fear of political intimidation and arbitrary arrest by the ruling government for openly critiquing their policies and programs.

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