A young man from WaraWaraYaga, Kabala District in the northern part of Sierra Leone,ShekuMomorie Marah, is currently in hiding after community authorities declared him wanted for practising gay.
Marah’s life is currently at risk because community authorities have launched a man hunt for him and threatened to kill him if found.
Kabala is known for dominantly practising Islam, a religion which strongly abhors the practice of gay in the country. Unfortunately for Marah, some of his family members are Muslims and strongly uphold the sharia that prohibits gay practisein the community.
According to one of the Islamic clerics in the district, Alhaji Juma Kamara, they have gathered all evidences against the young man, who chose to live a life different from his tradition and against the Muslim doctrine.
“Sheku has broken the taboo of our community which is purely Muslim dominated. Gay practice undermines our religious values. We have therefore ordered the youth to hunt him down and accordingly deal with him in line with our Islamic doctrine. A male should marry a female and not his colleague male,” he said with anger.
Marah was reportedly caught hanging around with a male colleague, Mohamed Samura, who also happens to be a gay. Both of them are currently in hiding because of fear of being reprimanded by the authorities.
While advocacy around the practise of same sex marriage is ongoing in the country, government officials have refused to accept the reality around the issue. Arguments are that the issue of same sex marriage goes beyond human rights and one that hinges on immorality, hence should be allowed to be practised in the country.
In 2011,Sierra Leone’s government and church leaders vehemently opposed laws protecting the human tights of gays and lesbians. Further attempts by some human rights groups to campaign for same-sex marriages in the West African state met stiff resistance which warranted a threatby the British Government to cut aid to nations not recognising gay rights.
The then Deputy Information Minister, Sheka Tarawallie told reporters that “it is not possible that we will legalise same sex marriages as they run counter to our culture”.
He was responding to a warning from British Prime Minister David Cameron that they intend to withhold aid from countries that do not recognise gay rights.
“The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone will do everything possible to protect democracy but our values will not accept the call from British Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron for countries in the Commonwealth like Sierra Leone to accept the practice of lesbianism and gayism,” Bishop Arnold Temple said.
In Sierra Leone, it is unsafe to be attributed with either gay or lesbian practise which has forced many practicing gays or lesbians to flee for their lives.