Reports from Kambia, northern Sierra Leone, reveal that the Bondo Secret Society has issued death threats against Saudatu Fumikeh Sannoh, over her refusal to be initiated as Sowie Priestess, replacing her Grand Aunt, who was the Spiritual Head and Sowie of the society.
According to our source, Saudatu Fumikeh Sannoh was marked from birth to replace her Grand Aunt in the secret society, with the agreement of her entire family, and a covenant entered on same, unknown to her, as she was a child.
Unfortunately, after coming of age, the elders confronted her with the agreement, and she vehemently rejected it, much to the anger of the members, who viewed her response as an insult to the tradition and culture of the Chiefdom, and an affront to the authority of the society. Several attempts were made to get her to conform to the demands of tradition, but to no avail.
According to our source, Saudatu Sannoh was called to see her grand aunt in the village, as she was frail and sick. On 7th February 2024, some few days after her arrival, while speaking with her grand aunt at her bedside, together with her daughter Maadamikeh Sannoh, some members of the secret society came to see the sick woman. Apparently, that was not their true motive. They grabbed Saudatu and her daughter and took them to the society shrine for initiation, stressing that she was to replace her grand aunt as head of the society and needed to be initiated in the rites of that position.
On 8 February, 2024, a day after their abduction, Saudatu and her daughter were to be initiated, together with other girls. During the said initiation, 3 of the girls initiated bled to death, which created confusion, thereby creating the perfect opportunity for Saudatu, her daughter and other girls to escape.
When news of this situation reached the authorities, the elders in the secret society were arrested on the orders of the President to know what went wrong. Unfortunately, since the top women in the country belong to these secret societies, the arrested women were given bail, with the police dragging their feet.
As Saudatu and her daughter were eyewitnesses, and the police were looking for evidence to tie the suspects to the matter, she and her daughter became the first targets for elimination, especially as Saudatu had explained her ordeal with some close friends, who had apparently blew her cover.
Our source furthered that the members of the society stormed the residence of one of her friends, in whose house she had passed the night, but were unable to see her. They threatened to kill her and her daughter to keep them silent. Upon hearing that threat, Saudatu is said to have taken her daughter and left for her home in Freetown.
According to family sources of her husband, Momoh Maada Sannoh, after the return of Saudatu and her daughter to their Freetown residence at 24 Kaningo, Juba, Western Rural area, where she and her husband, and daughter lived. Affiliate members of the Secret Society in Freetown were informed, and in desperation to prevent further enquiry into the circumstances of the deaths of the victims, stormed their residence at night, but Saudatu, her husband, Momoh Maada Sannoh, and their daughter, managed to escape through the backdoor of the house, undetected, and have since not been seen nor are their whereabouts known. Members of the Secret Society are said to have vowed to track them and silence them, as there are calls from concerned citizens to give justice to the victims’ families.
As we go to press, the whereabouts of Saudatu, her husband and daughter are still unknown, with no sign of the secret society members giving up on their pursuit of her.