OPERATED BY SLAJ

Misleading

FACT-CHECKED

by SLAJ |

No, the claim that secret society bans churches in Kenema is misleading.

SLAJ-iVerify has fact-checked the claim and found it to be misleading. The ceremonies of the ‘Bondo’ society required certain areas to be restricted, but church services were allowed to proceed.

Claim

In Kenema, secret society bans churches

Rating Justification

Over the past few days, there have been circulating claims that churches in Kenema were banned from holding services on Sunday, 19th May 2024, to accommodate a ceremony by the ‘Bondo’, a female secret society in Sierra Leone.

However, SLAJ-iVerify has found these claims to be misleading. To arrive at this conclusion, iVerify consulted: Council of Churches of Sierra Leone (CCSL)
Daniel Jaward, Journalist at Nyapui Radio in Kenema
Baindu Amara, Christian Resident in Kenema

Key Findings:
The claim that services were entirely prohibited is incorrect. According to Donald Theo Harding, Public Relations Officer for CCSL, church services were scheduled as usual, despite the ‘Bondo’ ceremony coinciding with ‘Pentecost Sunday’, a significant Christian festival.

Movement Restrictions:
The authorities imposed restrictions on certain roads within Kenema to facilitate the ‘Bondo’ ceremony. The restricted roads included Commbema Road, Hangha Road, Blama Road, Maxwell Khobe Street, Kaisamba Terresh, DAMA Road, and Humunya Avenue. These restrictions were in place to ensure the safety and privacy of the ceremony, which requires men and non-members of the society to stay indoors while the women conduct their activities.

Impact on Church Attendance:
While the restrictions did affect the normal operations of churches by limiting the movement of churchgoers, they did not result in an outright ban on church services.

Conclusion:
The claim that churches in Kenema were banned from holding services on Sunday, May 19, 2024, is misleading. The restrictions imposed were specific to certain roads to facilitate the ‘Bondo’ ceremony, and while they did impact the movement of churchgoers, they did not constitute a ban on church activities.

The ceremonies of the ‘Bondo’ society required certain areas to be restricted, but church services were allowed to proceed, albeit with some attendance affected by the movement limitations.

Evidence and References

Donald Theo Harding, Public Relations Officer, Council of Churches Sierra Leone

Daniel Jaward, journalist working for Nyapui Radio in Kenema

Baindu Amara, a resident in Kenema town