Witnesses testify in child stealing case

Sarah Koroma was sent back into remand after four witnesses testified she allegedly stole a five year old child and presented her for sale at Big Market in the central business district for Le 30 million. Koroma was arraigned before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie at the Freetown Magistrate Court No. 1 on Pademba Road on Monday 13th July 2020 on two count charges of child stealing and human trafficking. Police say Koroma, on 10th June 2020 at 4 Mile in Freetown, allegedly stole and presented the five year old child for sale.

She was charged with child stealing contrary to Section 56 of the Larceny Act of 1916 and human trafficking contrary to Section 2(2) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2005. Police witness Detective Police Constable Hassan Noah Kamara, recalled while on duty on 10th June at the Central Police Station, he was called by market labourer Abdulai Kamara at 6:30 pm about a woman who had presented a five year old child for sale. “I came to the market, and she explained that she had a five year old child for sale at a cost of Le 30 million, but told her that the child was little for that amount. Instead I offered to pay the sum of Le 20 million. We ended up at Le 25 million,” he explained.

He said he asked Koroma to wait while he went to collect the money, but instead went back to the Central Police Station to inform his colleague about the issue, adding both of them arrested Koroma and later handed her to the Family Support Unit (FSU). Social worker Mameh Kargbo recalled that on 11th July 2020, she was on duty at the World Hope International when she received a referral case from FSU about a five year old. “I was assigned by my supervisor to do an assessment of the child and we later placed her in our interim care centre. The five year old recognised the accused (Koroma), who she said lives with her mother. She revealed that Koroma took her to a river and threw her into the river, but took her back to town”.

The mother of the five year old, Baby Bangura also testified that on 10th June 2020, her child was stolen by Koroma, who was living with her after she could not find her sister whom she’d come to visit from Kono. “She explained her ordeal to me, so I decided to help her by providing accommodation for her. On the day of the incident, I gave Koroma Le 12,000 to prepare food for the house, while I went out to fend for my family. Upon returning, I did not see Koroma and my five year old daughter, until when I was visited by a social worker led by the accused. They explained everything to me and told me that my daughter is currently in the interim care of World Hope International”.

Koroma was sent back into remand at the Female Correctional Centre, and the matter was adjourned to 20th July 2020 for further hearing.

By Sulaiman Karim Sesay