Musa Conteh’s uncle had long warned him of the dangers of associating with other young men and the rumors that ran rampant through Binkolo, a small village in Makeni northern Sierra Leone where he had been born, Musa’s uncle Pa Alhaji Conteh narrated.
But the young man, who had just turned eighteen, was eager to break free of his father’s control and explore his sexuality despite the danger. With this in mind, Monday night, of December 10, 2018 he struck out with his partner, a young man from a neighboring village.
The two boys were so enraptured in their newfound love that they failed to hear Musa’s stepmother enter the room. Upon seeing the two boys together, her gasp of shock echoed off the walls and alerted the rest of the household, Musa explained during a telephone interview.
Before the boys could even try to explain their actions, Musa’s uncle dashed inside the house followed by a throng of angry villagers, he said.
The crowd was determined to punish the boys for their sacrilegious behavior. Seeing the resolve of the outraged group, the boys wisely chose to run where the village mob could not follow. They raced into the night, never looking back, desperate to put as much distance between them and their angry pursuers as possible, leaving his daughter behind.
Little did they know, however, that as soon as the pair had gone, their act of love had been reported to the authorities. Local law enforcement declared the two young men wanted criminals and soon the news traveled all the way to the headquarters of the Sierra Leonean police.
After a frantic effort to track down the lovers, the Sierra Leonean authorities located them in neighboring Guinea and quickly initiated the international manhunt. While in Guinea Musa’s lover gave him some money to escape from being caught by the police.