Paramount Chief Melrose Forster Gberie of Panda Kemor Chiefdom in Bonthe District, on Tuesday 10th March 2020, testified in the alleged gang rape incident involving her sister by eight accused. According to the Sierra Leone Police, on 20th January 2020, at Mountor Village, Kpanda Kemor Chiefdom in Bonthe District, Jihah Gberie, Alhaji Osman Fofanah, Joe Jaiah and five others gang raped the sister of the Paramount Chief and left her in critical condition. They were charged with eighteen counts including conspiracy to false imprisonment, conspiracy to kidnapping and rape contrary to Section 6 of the Sexual Offenses Act No. 12 of 2012. According to PC Melrose Forster on the date in question, she was sitting with her sister outside her house in her Chiefdom, when eventually her sister left the house for her own premises. The witness said immediately after her sister left, she saw some youth approach her, but she suddenly rushed into her room and closed the door. She said after closing the door, the youth that banged into her compound were members from the Poro society based on their sound and performance. She noted that they were never informed by the Poro members adding that as PC in that chiefdom, she had no idea about their performance. The Paramount Chief said she spent over 4 hours in the bathroom, due to fear from the Poro members, adding that she was in her bathroom where she had to call other Chiefdom authorities including the LUC, and Councilor. She said she was disguised as a man and escorted out of her bathroom to her new house. The witness said after two days, she called the Local Unit Commander in her Chiefdom informing her about her missing sister. The witness maintained a search operation was carried out and her sister was found at Gondama by the Police. ” My sister face was swollen, she was paled, and blood was settling in her eyes.” PC Gberie said they took the victim to the Mattru Jong Hospital for treatment but due to the severity of her condition, she was later transferred to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre.” The accused were represented by J.A Ansumana. They were denied bail and sent to the Male Correctional Centre. Magistrate Sheriff adjourned the matter to 13th March 2020.
By Mohamed J. Bah