September 29, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi from Kenema
The Acting Head of Police Media Unit in Kenema has informed this medium in an exclusive interview that a matter which was brought against the Deputy National Chairperson of Sowie Council, Madam Elsie Kondolomoh, has been transferred to traditional leaders for arbitration, stating that police do not have the power to investigate secret society matters.
Police Constable Brima James Musa said members of the Bondo society last week stormed the Kenema Police Station demanding that no charges be brought against their leader for what they described as ‘unwarranted interference’ into their traditional practices.
PC Musa recalled that on 20 September, 2016 they received a report from one Kadijatu Alie, 28, that she had been forcefully initiated into the Bondo society by Madam Elsie Kondolomoh and five of her colleagues. She claimed that Madam Kondolomoh took her to her resident at Kondebotihun layout in Kenema where they executed the alleged forceful initiation.
“We went to the scene where we meet the said lady in a small room, police used force to remove her from the area and when we arrived at the station, she explained her ordeals,” said the Police Constable, adding that Madam Kondolomoh vehemently denied that the complainant was put under lock and key.
According to police records, Madam Kondolomoh narrated that she was at her resident when Kadijatu visited her to complain that she was under pressure from her friends because she is not a member of the Bondo society and therefore requested for her to be initiated.
“I told her the steps one should take for them to be initiated and so she agreed. I took her to the nearby Bondo Society Bush where she was initiated. She again asked me to take hare to my resident as she was not quite comfortable with the Bondo Bush, as a mother and leader of the society, I took her to my resident for her to recover and she was given food three times daily,” the Sowei is quoted in the police report.
The head of the police media in Kenema further noted that the Family Support Unit of the SLP was initially handling the matter but was then transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department because of the gravity.
“The police received caution statement from her and she was released on bail, unfortunately the next day, hundreds of women stormed this station singing songs of vengeances, they brought a lot of green leaves and drop them all over the station, immediately after that situation, members of the district security and provincial security called on the police to hand the matter over to traditional leaders, including the Paramount Chief, Bondo women, Provincial Secretary, among others, to resolve the matter. The police do not have the responsibility to investigate secret society issues,” Musa averred.