On the 3rd of November 2022, Mattu Amara, a mother of four had some disagreement with her husband, Lansana Koroma of Mendekelema Village in the Gbombalay Section in Luawa Chiefdom in the Kailahun District. Due to persistent quarrels over a new lover, Mattu moved away from her marital home of nine years to stay with her elder sister Sia in Nyandehun Village just a mile away from Kailahun town. At the beginning of November, the SLP personnel at the Nyandehun Police Post told Mattu that her husband has informed them that their rice farm was due for harvesting so she should join him to carry out the harvesting.

Mattu initially expressed misgivings over the genuine nature of the invitation mainly based on the fact that the concubine of her husband is now permanently resident in her marital home. Due to the urging of the SLP, she went to Mendekelema Village during the morning hours on Thursday 3rd November 2022. On arrival in the village, she was viciously attacked by Jammie Sinneh the concubine of her husband, and two other relatives Lucia and Silikie who were backed by her husband Lansana Koroma in raining motherly invectives on Mattu. Mattu replied in like some.

The team of four then went and reported a case of the use of abusive language to the village chairlady against Mattu who summoned and explained the matter to Mattu.

While she was attending to the call, the same group of four went and reported the matter to Chief Lahai Josiah, the Section Chief of the Gbombalay Section in the Luawa Chiefdom. The chief then summoned Mattu to answer the same charges not knowing that it was a ploy for dastardly acts to follow.
Accordingly, as the Chief was interrogating Mattu, a large number of Bondo Society women suddenly arrived at the residence of the Section Chief and demanded that he hand over Mattu because she has committed an offense that warrants hearing in the Bondo bush. Mattu states that she held the hand of Chief Lahai Josiah and begged him not to release him to the crowd of aggressive women that were demanding to met-out jungle justice on her.

The Torture

The chief pushed her hands away and the physical attack on her started right away with slaps in the presence of the chief who did not do anything to stop the attack. The women undressed her from the village and dragged her into the Bondo bush inflicting severe torture on Mattu Amara. They lit cigarettes and burnt her face with them, a senior sowei, Nancy Nyandewa shaved part of her head with a machete. The other woman scratched her skin with coarse bush plants inflicting wounds all over her body. Main while the beating and torture continued with all sorts of items all over her body in ways that she has never heard about before.

The woman told her that the punishment was just the beginning of things to come. They inserted pepper into her Vagina and pushed sticks laced with all sorts of concussions including hot burning pepper into her Vagina. They further told her that they will eventually drain her blood which they will use for ritual purposes and eventually kill and dispose of her corpse in the river bed after diverting the stream, digging a hole, burying her in it, and redirecting the stream after burial so nobody will discover her whereabouts.

She was rescued by a sowei who forcefully took her away from them.

She arrived home in Nyandehun Village in an unconscious state.

The Bondo Society women followed her home on Friday morning and urged the Bondo society women in Nyandehun Village to met out their share of punishment on her for allegedly flouting society rules.

Her elder sister, Sia Amara, took her to the police post at Nyandehun Village where she made the initial report before taking her to the Kenema Government Hospital. A senior police officer ASP Junisa demanded NLe100 from the family of the badly battered Mattu Amara before he took her statement. He led a team to the village less than two miles from Kailahum Town where they met the alleged perpetrators but did not affect any arrest. The SLP personnel advised the family members of Mattu Amara to settle the matter amicably. Feeling helpless and disappointed about the inaction of the police, the family members appealed to well-wishers to help save the life of their family and also seek justice for her.

Due to the loud silence of the case without no action against them, the perpetrators attempted to snatch Mattu away from the Kailahum Government Hospital on the 7th and 8th of November 2022. However, the vigilant leadership of the Kailahun Government hospital and other activists including the astute staff of the One-Stop-Centre vehemently frustrated their dastardly act from taking place.
The matter was first reported to Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay, Director of the Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM) for her urgent intervention. The AIM boss, as usual, wasted no time to strategize and send in an experienced fact-finding team of activists and professionals from Bonthe and Freetown who joined their colleagues in the district that uncovered the heinous nature of torture and gross human right abuse meted out to the poor woman. The AIM team went alongside the Head of the Eastern Region Human Right Commission Mr. Tom A.S. Sandy. The team reported the matter to the new LUC of the Kailahun Police Division, CSP Issa Kamara who just took up duty on 9th November 2022. The new police boss shifted gear from no action a week since the incident took place to making three arrests out of the huge number of known perpetrators. There has been mounting tension with the sighting of several women converging on the premises of the hospital for none health-related issues. The Family of the victim, mindful of threats against Mattu Amara in the hospital pleaded with AIM to help evacuate her to a safer location where she will also access advanced healthcare services. The medical doctor accepted and acted on the request of the family members. AIM facilitated the evacuation of the patient to Freetown where she is currently undergoing advanced treatment in a safer environment. The Kailahun Women in Governance and AIM funded one month of tentative support for the upkeep of her children with a caregiver.

Meanwhile, the new Local Unit Commander (LUC) Chief Superintendent Issa Kamara has so far made three (3) arrests which include the husband and two other women. The matter is still under investigation as the new LUC has vowed to get to the bottom of the alleged torture and conspiracy to commit wounding with intent.

AIM wishes to thank the personnel of the One-stop-Center, Dr. Juana and his medics, the Regional Director of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, the District Coordinator of ONS, the New Kailahun LUC, the Women in Governance and the CSOs for the collective teamwork in this life-saving venture. AIM in a press statement emphasizes that this is the beginning of a long-drawn battle to put an end to this torture and cruelty meted out by women against their fellow women.