April 1, 2016 By Casper Hsu and AL Mansaray (Interns from Bournemouth University, UK)
A two-month-old baby was abandoned under a tree in the outskirts of the capital Freetown around 6 a.m. during the Easter holiday, a senior law enforcement official says on Tuesday.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sia Sandi, attached to the Family Support Unit (FSU) at Ross Road Police Station, says the infant, a boy, was found beneath the tree by a woman who reported the matter to the local police unit.
“Yesterday [Tuesday, 29 March], I was informed by my colleagues that they found a baby at the bottom of a mango tree in a compound at Grafton town,” she tells our reporters.
ASP Sandi says she has already visited the location where the incident took place and that the baby was initially taken to Grafton Police Station before it was handed over to a social worker stationed at Calaba Town.
Because of a memorandum signed between the police FSU and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, according to ASP Sandi, all children found abandoned are immediately handed over to the ministry for care whilst the police carry on with their investigation.
However, she laments that this was just one case out of many as children of all ages are abandoned on a regular basis.
‘This one is happening every now and then. You will get children that are at tender ages of zero to three months, four months and one year. Then you will even have children of about 5 years, 6 years, 7 years, 8 years – some 12 years – who got missing from their homes. So, when these cases are reported to us, we just handover to the nearest Social Welfare officer in that particular area of responsibility,” ASP Sandi explains.