31 July 2002

Sierra Leone: Teenager Dies After Female Genital Mutilation

Freetown — A fourteen-year-old girl has died after undergoing circumcision in Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone According to a police report, on Monday 29th July, Sheka Sesay of 49 Black Hall Road in the east of Freetown reported that 14-year-old Isatu Bangura, his half sister was initiated into the bondo society at about 9:00am on Saturday July 28 and later died.

The ceremony took place at 2, Lawson Lane off Kissy Road, Freetown.

He said she was reported dead on Monday July 29, 2002 at about 8:00a.m. She was alleged to have died after undergoing the ceremony carried out by Fatmata Koloneh Sesay.

She was said to have bled to death.

The corpse is presently at the Connaught Hospital mortuary in Freetown, awaiting postmortem examination.

Police say Fatmata Koloneh is in custody helping in the investigation.

There have been campaigns against female genital mutilation in the country and fears have been raised that initiates could die.

However, traditionalists believe such campaigns are misplaced insisting that the bondo initiation has been on for centuries and could not just be abolished by apostles of western civilisation.

It is known what the police will be charging the accused with. There are speculations she could be charged for murder or for manslaughter.

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