Within the past few weeks, some Muslims in the eastern province around the area of Gulama Mende have been forcefully conscripted to the Poro Society.
According to the P R O of the United Council of Imams Sierra Leone, most of the victims were members of the said society as it is the custom to join little boys to the society when they are around the age of seven.
Some of these boys later decide not to take part in those activities as it goes against their Islamic faith.
As old members, they refused to go to their houses when the Poro society is performing. This angered the Poro men who will force anybody that is not indoors. Such confrontations are sometimes very violent, leading to injuries, burning of houses. Some Muslims are forced to flee for their safety. Making them refugees in their country. Some of the victims who happens to be Imams went to the Regional headquarter town of Kenema.
In an interview with this medium, the national P R O of the United council of Imams Sierra Leone Sheik Ibrahim Kolleya said, some of their members are still missing and believed to be held by the Poro men.
He further said that they have published a press release concerning the Issue, they have also contacted the Office of the Ombudsman, some Paramount Chiefs, the Police and the Ministry of Local Government to resolve the issue and give justice to the victims.
According to the President of the said council of Imams, Dr. Mohammed Habib Sheriff, this used to happen in the past. But they were in dialogue with the members who mostly profess to be Muslims. As a result there have been a peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Secret societies around the country. But it seems in this part of the country, the Poro society is reviving and seems very violent.
He urged the authorities not to treat the issue as Muslims versus the Poro Society, but as peaceful citizens versus criminals who have no regard for the human rights of their fellow citizens. He continued by saying, such gaps in society are what extremist wants so they can cause their havoc.
The eastern region have high percentage of Muslims youths who are increasingly taking their religion more important. In the 21st century, in a Negro land like ours, the Negro must be given the opportunity to practice his or religion with peace and dignity, Dr. Sheriff Concluded.