The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Forceful Cutting, Traditional School Activity Increase In Liberia

In the wake of the deadly corona virus epidemics, report of female genital mutilations (FGM) practice is reportedly on the rise in all the nine electoral districts including the poro bush activities across the country.
Speaking to this paper recently, Elizabeth Sayeh, frowned at commissioners working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) that are clothed with the authority of stopping all forms of practices of FGM but are intentionally paying deaf ears and such practice is on the increase in many of the towns in the county.
Madam Sayeh added that many young girls that were attending several of the government operated schools in Lao Clan electoral district 8 and those in district 1 & 2 in Bain-Gar have left schools to go attend the Sande Bush School ongoing in the county.
According to Sayeh, since June 2021 (FGM), Sande bush exercise is on the rise in many of the districts creating serious fear among school going girls who fear being forcibly taken away by members of that traditional society.
Since the beginning of 2021, reports of girls’ graduation in the Sande bush school continue to emerge from the various districts the exercise is the order of the day in the county.
When contacted, the Ministry of Gender Coordinator Yei Belleh confirmed the information via telephone that the practice of FGM has actually increased thus creating serious concern even among the local authorities.
The Nimba County Gender Coordinator further emphasized that an official communication has been written to the Ministry of Gender head office in Monrovia informing them about practice of FGM or sande bush school which is a threat to academic activities in the county.
The Bain-Garr District Commissioner Amos Gbatu confirmed the increase in the practice of FGM and added that this practice is not happening in the Bain-Garr District alone, but all over the county.
It is no secret that the Traditional Chief Council has been authorized to arrest any of the traditional people or leaders found in such practice yet the reality of effecting this information which was made during the opening of the academic school year in the country remains on the lips of the government.
In August 2021 in Sanniquellie Mah, Commissioner Wonmen Yealue was kidnapped by officials and members of the poro for his alleged refusal to become a member.
Meanwhile, a religious group under the banner, the Saint Assembly Ministries International, also staged a peaceful prayer gathering at the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 calling for the immediate release of some of its pastors and Church members who were forcefully taken into the Zoe bush for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Gbartala, Bong County.
According to them, their pastors along with their wives and several members were arrested by country devil by traditional leaders and were taken to the Zoe bush where they are undergoing torture and inhumane treatment.
Those allegedly taken forcibly into the zoe traditional bush were reported to be breastfeeding mothers, children, pastors and elders.
Pastor Alpha R. Tarway noted that their senior pastor of the Assembly of Saint Ministries International in Bong County, Gbalata was among those forcibly taken to the Zoe bush, something which violates his human rights- rights to religion
According to the Saint Assembly Ministries International pastor, they received calls from Monrovia from members in Bong County that their pastor was arrested and taken to the Zoe bush for attempting to lead the county to Christ.
Pastor Tarway furthered indicated that based upon the calls received, several pastors, members and breastfeeding mothers and babies went to Bong County to have their pastor released but it didn’t materialize as the police who claimed to be trained to protect lives and property informed them that the issue was beyond their control.
However, while discussing with the police, some residents of Gbatala Town began threatening them that they will be attacked but they in turn informed the residents that their actions were against the will of God and had negative consequences.
“After that, a lady came with a Sheriff with a Writ of Arrest for one of our pastors and we all followed to the court. While at the court in preparation of securing our bond, the Zoes came and everyone ran away including the police and the judge and another group of our members was again compellingly arrested and taken into the Zoe bush by those traditional leaders and country devil,” Pastor Alph R. Tarway explained.
The clergy man narrated that other members who managed to run away was taken in by a resident who promised to protect them till morning but during the night time the Zoe people came at the house and collected them again and took them in the Zoe bush were they are undergoing serious punishment.
Also speaking, a young pastor of the Saint Assembly Ministries International, Abel Jeffery, explained that they have communicated with the Chief Zoe of Liberia ZanZan Karwor on the matter who has promised the release of their members and pastor but up till this date, they have not been released.
“We were given a mandate by God to preach the gospel to all nations so that people can be saved. What have we done wrong that our people are being maltreated? The police can’t do anything to help us; even the Ministry responsible for the action has continued promising us. With this action against the people of God, Liberia is heading for doom,” Pastor Jeffery disclosed.
However, Chief Karwor confirmed that some people were arrested from the Christian community, but they are working on their release noting, “They have gathered here with prayers and we send for their representative to come but they refused to come to us rather we should go to them. Now I am here to them for us to settle things and they are not ready. What I can say now is that since they feel that by assembling here to pray can help them without us sitting on the table to talk, let them be here praying.”
By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy-SRHRDialogues#

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