The surreal ordeal for the little girl began in 2013 after she had successfully undergone the initiation rites for the Bondo society in her village. Unfortunately for the little girl, she fell sick three months later. With the village being so far away there obviously is no medical facility. The villagers have to make do with local traditional doctors or herbalists.
It was one such herbalist that the little girl was taken to, who after initial examination proclaimed that she was a witch.
“At that time she had become paralysed in one leg” said one of the residents under condition of anonymity.
The child’s father who is an elder in the society built her a special hut in the village where she is confined. Residents are afraid of even giving her food and relatives have to prevail on the father from time to time to feed the poor girl.
This has been her condition for the past year. She is now badly in need of a bath and change of clothes. Her mother is reportedly separated from the Father and living in another village. The girl may also possibly be going blind due to multiple bites in the tse-tse ply infested area.
This story is not unique to Sierra Leone. On 4th February 2017, the New Delhi (India) based newspaper ‘Indiatoday’ published a story about a two-year-old Nigerian boy who was abandoned by his own family because they believed he was a witch.
Indiatoday wrote “When the news broke out, a Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven, the co-founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF), was quick to launch a rescue mission in January 2016, to find the boy. The toddler called Hope, was found wasted. Anja rescued Hope and shared his photos on her Facebook page.”
“Hope was suffering the pain of abandonment. It required an operation for him to improve his health soon after months he was found. After he was found by Anja, he started to get better. A year has passed and Hope now, has started going to school and Anja celebrated the Hope’s first week at school on the anniversary of his rescue.”
As we publish, the fate of the little girl (name withheld) hangs in the balance. The villagers and residents are afraid of speaking on record because the child’s father is a powerful man in the village. She might just be left to waste away and die. No child deserves to be treated this way. It is hoped Child Rights advocates and organisations would go to the aid of this poor soul.